[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. tatting,
  2. tattle,
  3. tattler,
  4. tattletale,
  5. tattletale gray,
  6. tattva,
  7. tatty,
  8. tatum,
  9. tatum, art,
  10. tatum, edward lawrie

Origin of tattoo

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

Related formstat·too·er, tat·too·ist, nounun·tat·tooed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tattooist


/ (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


/ (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 Formstattooer 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

Word Origin and History for tattooist
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for tattooist


[ 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.