[ ta-too ]
/ tæˈtu /
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See synonyms for: tattoo / tattooed / tattooing / tattoos on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural tat·toos.
a signal on a drum, bugle, or trumpet at night, for soldiers or sailors to go to their quarters.
a knocking or strong pulsation: My heart beat a tattoo on my ribs.
British. an outdoor military pageant or display.
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The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Origin of tattoo

1570–80; earlier taptoo<Dutch taptoe literally, the tap(room) is to (i.e., shut)

Other definitions for tattoo (2 of 2)

[ ta-too ]
/ tæˈtu /

noun, plural tat·toos.
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.
verb (used with object), tat·tooed, tat·too·ing.
to mark (the skin) with tattoos.
to put (tattoos) on the skin.

Origin of tattoo

1760–70; <Marquesan tatu; replacing tattow<Tahitian tatau


tat·too·er, tat·too·ist, nounun·tat·tooed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use tattoo in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tattoo (1 of 2)

/ (tæˈtuː) /

noun plural -toos
(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

Word Origin for tattoo

C17: from Dutch taptoe, from the command tap toe! turn off the taps! from tap tap of a barrel + toe to shut

British Dictionary definitions for tattoo (2 of 2)

/ (tæˈtuː) /

verb -toos, -tooing or -tooed
to make (pictures or designs) on (the skin) by pricking and staining with indelible colours
noun plural -toos
a design made by this process
the practice of tattooing

Derived forms of tattoo

tattooer or tattooist, noun

Word Origin for tattoo

C18: from Tahitian tatau
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for tattoo

[ tă-tōō ]

n. pl. tat•toos
A permanent mark or design made on the skin by a process of pricking and ingraining an indelible pigment or by raising scars.
To mark the skin with a tattoo.
To form a tattoo on the skin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.