Slang in the World of Tattoos

Tattooing is a multifaceted form of art that not only provides a means of self-expression but also has its own language—tattoo slang. Just like any profession, the tattoo industry has its own terms and expressions that might be unfamiliar to newcomers. In this article, we'll delve into some of the most common words and phrases in tattoo slang, allowing everyone to better immerse themselves in the realm of tattooing.


The term "flash" originates from the English word for "lightning." In the tattoo industry, it refers to ready-made tattoo designs that tattoo artists can offer clients to choose from. Flash tattoos are typically executed relatively quickly, as they feature simple illustrations and cater to various styles.


The term "sleeve" denotes a tattoo design that covers a significant portion of the body, usually the arm from shoulder to wrist. Creating a full "sleeve" tattoo demands time and meticulous attention to detail, but the outcome is impressive.


When an individual wishes to conceal or alter an old tattoo with a new one, the term "cover-up" is used. Tattoo artists specializing in cover-ups employ creative and inventive techniques to craft a new design that transforms the old tattoo into unrecognizable beauty.


Blackwork is a tattoo style used to create geometric patterns, often executed with black or dark lines. This style enables the creation of striking and intriguing designs, which can be abstract or symbolic.

Watercolor Style

The "watercolor" tattoo style imparts a visual effect as if the design were created using watercolors. Light, transparent, and blurred colors are employed, resembling an artistic watercolor painting.

Tramp Stamp

A tattoo typically located on the lower back, popularized in the late 90s and early 21st century. Often featuring flowers, butterflies, quotes, or tribal patterns. This tattoo gained media and film popularity and acquired a reputation associated with sexual allure.

Prison Style

Partak style distinguishes itself from other tattoos through its simple composition, lines, and virtually absence of shading, often employing only one color. "Partak style" originates from incarceration settings where inmates create such tattoos, known as "prison codes," to signify their status, rank, and years served behind bars. The term "prison code" translates to "tattoo" in prison slang.

Tattoo slang constitutes a unique language enabling professionals and clients to communicate and interact within the realm of tattoo art. Grasping essential terms enhances understanding the diversity of tattoo styles and techniques. Familiarity with tattoo slang also facilitates more effective and comprehensible communication with tattoo artists when discussing designs and placing orders. Tattoo art is an expression of self, and comprehending the language of this industry aids in creating a distinctive and precise masterpiece on your skin.