- the act or practice of marking the skin with indelible patterns, pictures, legends, etc., by making punctures in it and inserting pigments.
- a pattern, picture, legend, etc., so made.
- to mark (the skin) with tattoos.
- to put (tattoos) on the skin.
Origin of tattoo2
- (formerly) a signal by drum or bugle ordering the military to return to their quarters
- a military display or pageant, usually at night
- any similar beating on a drum, etc
- to make (pictures or designs) on (the skin) by pricking and staining with indelible colours
- a design made by this process
- the practice of tattooing
Word Origin and History for tattooist
"signal," 1680s, "signal calling soldiers or sailors to quarters at night," earlier tap-to (1644, in order of Col. Hutchinson to garrison of Nottingham), from Dutch taptoe, from tap "faucet of a cask" (see tap (n.1)) + toe "shut." So called because police used to visit taverns in the evening to shut off the taps of casks. Transferred sense of "drumbeat" is recorded from 1755. Hence, Devil's tattoo "action of idly drumming fingers in irritation or impatience" (1803).
"pigment design in skin," 1769 (noun and verb, both first attested in writing of Capt. Cook), from a Polynesian noun (e.g. Tahitian and Samoan tatau, Marquesan tatu "puncture, mark made on skin").
"mark the skin with pigment," 1769; see tattoo (n.2). Related: Tattooed; tattooing.
- A bluish-black or gray lesion of the oral mucous membrane caused by accidental implantation of silver amalgam into the tissue during tooth restoration or extraction.