What Does Three Dots Tattoo Mean? | Represent Symbolism (2023)

There are many different versions of the three dots tattoo and many different meanings as well, ranging from simple and aesthetic to dark and complicated. The three dots can be arranged in a variety of ways, depending on the intention and can also be colored or shaded in slightly differently to allow for a number of options in design. The three dots, arranged in a triangular shape, can represent a criminal lifestyle alluding to gang membership and serving time in prison. It’s not uncommon to see one person with the three dots tattoo with others that have similar tats. It does not necessarily mean that they are still in gangs, but there is a pretty good chance that they were once part of gangs and proud of it.

What Does Three Dots Tattoo Mean? | Represent Symbolism (1)

The small and simple black dots are often placed on the face between the eye and the temple making it incredibly visible. The placement serves as a representation of the prominence of crime and counterculture in the individual’s life. The reason why it is made so visible is because the owner wants others to know that they live the “hard” life. It is a way to intimidate others both inside of and outside of prison. It’s also a way for fellow gang members to quickly recognize one of their own, which is made much easier by the fact that they have the exact same three dots tattoos on their faces.

The more obvious the placement of the three dots, the more prevalent crime is in the person’s world. Some people will get the three dots tattoo right next to one of their eyes, while others might get the tat on their arm or hand. It all comes down to how easily the owner wants people to recognize their gang affiliation. In some cases, gang members don’t have a choice since everyone in their gang gets the three dots tattoo in the same area.

The dots in the three dots tattoo are a symbol of the Latin American principle of “mi vida loca”, which means “my crazy life” in Spanish, where each dot represents one word. This is one of the many reasons why the three dots are kept so close together. The phrase is commonplace among Central American gangs all over the Americas and the numerous gangs that adopt the “gangster” lifestyle.

The triangularly shaped dots can be placed in other locations on the body but generally are placed in obvious locations, like on the hand or fingers, to emphasize the lifestyle to others. This style of three dot tattoo is often done while incarcerated and is taken quite seriously as a gang symbol. When a gang member does get the three dot tattoo on their hand rather than their face, it could be to keep the tattoo hidden from police while also allowing fellow gang members to see that they are affiliated with them.

Tattoo designs involving three single dots do not necessarily mean that the people are affiliated with a gangster lifestyle, even if placed in triangular form. In some cases, the dots are arranged and tattooed this way simply because of the symmetry of the design. Owners of these tattoos can come up with any number of three dot tattoo meanings since there are plenty of things that use the number three. For example, someone who wants to get a very cheap and private tattoo might get the three dots tattoo to represent three very important moments or people in their lives.

What Does Three Dots Tattoo Mean? | Represent Symbolism (2)

Dots can be rendered in a horizontal or vertical line, straight or diagonal. This is often done just for the minimalist aesthetic and for the simple appearance of the three dots. The dots can be the same size to keep the symmetry or vary in size, color, or shade. There are hundreds of design avenues that you can go down with the three dots tattoo when you’re not getting it as a gang tattoo.

The image of three dots can hold religious significance as well. The number three is often a reference to the Holy Trinity in Christianity and represents the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Some people will get a religious version of the three dots tattoo that looks exactly like the gangster version, while others might put a lot more space between the dots.

(Video) What does 3 dots tattoo mean?

The three dots can be accompanied by a crucifix or other religious iconography to make the intention of the tattoo clear although the additional imagery should be clean and simple so that the three dots are emphasized rather than hidden. Moons or stars work well with the dots to create a minimalist constellation design.

Interestingly, some people combine three dot tattoo meanings to make this tattoo even more personal. It’s not uncommon at all for someone to get a three dot tattoo to represent both their “crazy” side and their religious side. After all, plenty of prisoners find religion while they are behind bars so it makes sense that they would find the three dot tattoo to be the perfect tat for them.

What Does Three Dots Tattoo Mean? | Represent Symbolism (3)

In a literary sense the three dots represent the ellipsis, a grammatical element used to indicate the incompletion of a thought or phrase. The ellipsis alludes to something that is not stated but possibly implied, a sentence that trails off and leaves question. The ellipsis tattoo is a symbol of continuation, a path or journey that leads to something more for better or worse. It represents something that does not necessarily need to be said or written but it better left unsaid.

What’s interesting is that people often think that someone has a three dots tattoo when they actually have the five dots tattoo. These two tats have different meanings, though they can look quite similar. With the five dot tattoo, the owner is trying to show that they are the fifth dot trapped inside of the other four dots, representing their time spent in prison.

When looking at a three dots tattoo, it is important to look at the shape of the dots before coming to any conclusions about the meaning of the tattoo. If the dots are in the shape of a triangle, they could represent any of the things we mentioned above. If they are in a straight line, there’s a pretty good chance that the owner is not in a gang. Because the three dots tattoo can make someone seem like they’re in a gang even though they aren’t, it’s always a good idea to get other designs around the three dots to make the meaning a bit clearer.

The number three itself has quite a few meanings, and the three dots tattoo might have more to do with the number than the dots. For example, someone might get the three dots tattoo to represent “motivation” because that is one of the more well-known meanings for the number three. This is yet another reason why you shouldn’t assume that a three dots tattoo automatically means that the owner of the tat is or ever was in a gang. However, if you do want to use the number three in this way, we recommend trying to find another design than the three dots tattoo to avoid unwanted confusion.

You might also find that the three dots were used because they are a cheap and easy tattoo to get. Three friends might get three dots apiece to represent their friendship, though these tattoos are very rarely on the face. These types of cheap tattoos are often done outside of a tattoo parlor since pretty much anyone could make a dot with a needle. We don’t recommend making your own tattoos, but it’s certainly not uncommon.

What Does Three Dots Tattoo Mean? | Represent Symbolism (4)

To go even further, the three dots might represent something very personal to the owner. The dots could represent loved ones or even personal goals. It’s an inexpensive tattoo that can have multiple meanings for the owner and they just wanted anything that could represent those meanings.

(Video) Police Have Warned To Watch Out For People With Three Dot Tattoos

That being said, the three dots tattoo is generally seen as a prison tat, especially when it is drawn on the owner’s face. That doesn’t mean you should assume that the person is gang affiliated, but it is the most common meaning.

Obviously you have a lot to think about if you are planning on getting a three dots tattoo. If you don’t want it to be seen as a gang tattoo, it would be best to not get it in a triangular shape and to avoid getting it on or around your face. You can very easily get the three dots to blend in with a bigger design if you really want to have a three dots tattoo.

It’s probably pretty surprising to find out that the three dots tattoo has so many meanings. While it is a tattoo that was once seen as just another gang tattoo, it now has all of the meanings listed above and plenty of others. In all honesty, it’s a tattoo that you’ll want to avoid altogether unless you’re able to find a unique design that won’t confuse people.

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What is the spiritual meaning of 3 dots? ›

It's a fact that people in life are constantly seeking truth and the divine is always seeking to express itself through life. For Pythagoras, the triangle of these three dots is a symbol of harmony. When you focus on your truth, you are connected to life and you have the experience of life coming to you.

What is the meaning of three triangles tattoo? ›

Originating around the Middle Ages, this symbol featuring three interlocking triangles has been known to serve as an illustration for the afterlife, rebirth, and the concepts of continuity, order and undying will.

What does a black dot tattoo mean? ›

The Black Dot Campaign, set up by a survivor of domestic abuse, is a signal that the person wearing a black dot is a domestic abuse victim, and cannot otherwise ask for help.

What does party dot tattoo mean? ›

Generally it's a tattoo on a suicide survivor. He or she attempted suicide but for whatever reason (fate, luck, divine intervention, sometimes unlucky) they survived. The tattoo is taken from the definition of a semicolon, meaning "there's more to the story."

What does the three symbolize? ›

Throughout human history, the number 3 has always had a unique significance, but why? The ancient Greek philosopher, Pythagoras, postulated that the meaning behind numbers was deeply significant. In their eyes the number 3 was considered as the perfect number, the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding.

What is the symbolic meaning of dots? ›

The point, or dot, is an important symbol in Sufism. It is complete, self-contained and perfect in and of itself. It represents the Primordial Point, the first mark laid down by the Pen of the Divine, who wrote the universe into being.

What does 3 black dots tattoo mean? ›

The three dots tattoo is a common prison tattoo that represents “mi vida loca,” or “my crazy life.” It's not associated with any particular gang, but with the gang lifestyle itself. This tattoo is typically found on the hands or around the eyes.

What does 3 circles in a triangle mean? ›

Three interconnected circles represent the Holy Trinity. Latin Cross surrounded by circle or oval representing eternity or never-ending existence. Triangle/Trefoil/Triquetra. In Christianity, the equilateral triangle is the symbol of the Trinity.

What does the 3 semicolon tattoo mean? ›

What does a semicolon tattoo mean? A semicolon tattoo is a tattoo of the semicolon punctuation mark (;), which is used as a message of affirmation and solidarity with those who have dealt with suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.

What is a dotted tattoo? ›

It is a tattooing technique where the artist creates a design with a multitude of dots, rather than full lines or fill. It can be incredibly intricate, and It shows off one form of artistry from afar, and another level entirely when you come up close to it.

What are dotted tattoos called? ›

At the most basic level, dotwork tattoos are tattoos that composed entirely of small dots of ink. This technique, which is often called stippling, produces tattoos that are fantastically detailed with shading effects that can be quite subtle.

What does a small dot tattoo mean? ›

A single dot often represents a 'full stop' – the end of one phase and the start of another. A row of three dots is another popular version of this tattoo. Once often worn by gang members, today, it is associated with living life on your terms.

Why are tattoos dotted? ›

Not taking proper aftercare precautions could also contribute to patchiness; picking scabs off your new tattoo, swimming or submerging it in the bath, exposing it to UV rays while it's still in the early stages of healing could all lead to ink loss and patchiness.

What does 4 dots tattoo mean? ›

Mostly seen in the UK but used elsewhere too, four dots tattooed across the knuckles stand for ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards). Or a dot on each hand in between the thumb and forefinger—one meaning going into prison, and one meaning they have completed their sentence.

What does four dots tattoo mean? ›

A common tattoo in American prisons for Hispanic inmates, is four dots or three dots. The dots represent that you have earned your keep in your gang. The three dots would represent the 13 of the southern gangs and the same for the northern gangs with four dots :: for 14.

What does 3 symbolize in the Bible? ›

The number three biblically represents divine wholeness, completeness and perfection. If ever there were a desire to highlight an idea, thought, event or noteworthy figure in the Bible for their prominence, the number three was used to put a divine stamp of completion or fulfillment on the subject.

What does number 3 represent in life? ›

The number 3 has always held powerful symbolism. Think about good things coming in 3s, the birth-life-death cycle, the mind-body-soul connection, the 3 acts of a typical story. Wherever the number 3 shows up in your life, it's generally an omen of creativity, communication, optimism, and curiosity!

What is the special name of number 3? ›

3: a few, trio

Examples: She bought a few loaves of bred. Those girls always play together in a trio.

What does a triangle of dots mean? ›

In logical argument and mathematical proof, the therefore sign, ∴, is generally used before a logical consequence, such as the conclusion of a syllogism. The symbol consists of three dots placed in an upright triangle and is read therefore.

Does three dots mean therefore? ›

(three dots) means “therefore” and first appeared in print in the 1659 book Teusche Algebra (“Teach Yourself Algebra”) by Johann Rahn (1622-1676). (the such that sign) means “under the condition that”.

What does 3 dots mean in Morse code? ›

Three Dots and a Dash is the Morse code for V, which. stands for victory. It's also a cocktail created by Don. the Beachcomber to celebrate soldiers returning from.

What does ellipsis tattoo mean? ›

Three dots in a line tattoo

This can mean the wearer is still on their life's journey, or is going through a process of change. This type of tattoo is also known as an 'ellipsis' and can have a spiritual meaning with the three dots illustrating a number of different spiritual concepts.

What tattoo represents abuse? ›

The Medusa tattoo has become popular among women who have experienced sexual assault. By reclaiming the Medusa identity, they are dispelling the belief that being victimized means they ought to be cursed or punished.

What tattoo symbolizes strength? ›

Lion tattoo

As the king of the jungle, lions represent courage and power. That's why they are often seen in tattoos about strength. What is this? As the glyph of the Leo sign, they also show up in most Leo tattoos.

What do overlapping triangles mean? ›

When triangles overlap, it means that they cover some of the same area. More specifically, overlapping triangles are triangles that share at least part of a side or an angle.

What does interlocking triangles tattoo mean? ›

There is an interesting new way to interlock the Valknut triangles– instead of them being linked together loosely with space in between, the triangles can be interlocked tightly like a Celtic knot tattoo. This kind of Valknut tattoo represents how incredibly close you were to the loved one who passed away.

What are three triangles? ›

Six Types of Triangles
Based on their SidesBased on their Angles
Scalene TriangleAcute Triangle
Isosceles TriangleObtuse Triangle
Equilateral TriangleRight Triangle
Aug 20, 2020

What do the Hawaiian triangles mean? ›

A: In Hawaiian tattoos, triangles often symbolize the three main elements of nature: land, sea, and sky.

What does three overlapping triangles mean? ›

The Valknut Meaning

The nine points of the triangle have been associated with the nine worlds of Norse mythology, and the three interconnected triangles have been said to reflect the connection between Earth, Heaven and Hell. The symbol has also been associated with ecstatic Seidr magic, of which Odin was a master.

What does double arrow tattoo mean? ›

Struggle and Triumph

Another design idea that symbolizes struggle is two arrows pointing away from each other—a representation of war or conflict. On the other hand, an arrow tattoo with a feather represents triumph over that life struggle or conflict, as well as liberty and independence.

What does double triangle tattoo mean? ›

Discover the meaning of the double triangle tattoo at oneHOWTO. Depending on the orientation of the triangle, the meaning of the tattoo will change. It can represent Fire and Air or Water and Earth. But from one civilization to another, from one era to another, the symbol takes on a different meaning in each case.

What does a triangle and circle together mean? ›

The priests and seers of antiquity regarded the circle enclosing the triangle as a means of warding off spirits of evil, and AA's circle and triangle of Recovery, Unity, and Service has certainly meant all of that to us and much more.

What does 3 lines tattoo on chin mean? ›

The three lines tattooed on the chin is a popular design with a deep cultural meaning. In some cultures, the lines represent the three stages of a woman's life, while in others they signify the three elements of nature.

What does anchor tattoo mean? ›

For some, it's simply a representation of the sea. For others, it's a reminder of being held down and remaining grounded. Even more, anchors could symbolize anything from commitment to safety to hope. Because anchors have so many meanings, they're a great tattoo idea.


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