The Meaning Behind Harry Styles’s Tattoos – Well, the Ones We Know About, Anyway
There are a few things I know for certain about Harry Styles’s tattoos: he has a lot of them, he probably has more than I even know about, and I don’t know what most of them actually mean to him. The “Watermelon Sugar” singer has gotten a few of them on a whim – like “big” on his big toe – and a few sentimental things for family members. Some he even did himself! But why did he stamp a butterfly on his stomach? I don’t know, and I may never know. He doesn’t speak about his tattoos often, yet he keeps doodling all over himself. He’s got somewhere north of 60 tattoos these days, and who knows what he’ll get next. Ahead, I’m sharing the info I’ve collected on Harry’s tattoos, but for the rest of them, we’ll just have to admire them and their mystery. Also, while I did my best to be comprehensive, don’t be mad if I missed one – he has SO MANY.
1957 + 1967
Harry has two dates tattooed on his collarbones – 1957 and 1967. His dad, Des Styles, was born in 1957, and his mom, Anne Twist, was born in 1967.
Silver Spoon + Handshake + Skull
Harry has several tattoos on his left arm. Here you can see the words “Silver Spoon,” a handshake, and a framed skull. These are three tattoos that Harry hasn’t spoken about, so I have no idea the reasoning behind why he got them and don’t necessarily want to make assumptions – his reasoning could be entirely different from what a handshake symbol usually means!
Holy Bible + You Booze You Lose + Anatomical Heart + A
This is another group of tattoos on Harry’s left arm. The Holy Bible is covering text that used to say “Things I can’t.” The letter “A” presumably stands for his mom, Anne, but I don’t know for sure. The others are more stories he hasn’t told.
Eagle + Mary
On Harry’s right arm, he has an eagle tattoo covering what used to say “Things I can.” He covered the old tattoo a couple years ago but hasn’t opened up about why or why he chose an eagle. Though it feels easy to assume the eagle symbolizes freedom, I don’t know for certain. Above the eagle is the name Mary, Harry’s grandmother.
Anchor + Mermaid + Rose
Three noticeable tattoos on Harry’s left arm include an anchor that covers text that used to say “I can’t change,” a mermaid, and a rose. The anchor is in line with his other nautical tattoos, including the ship on his bicep and swallows on his chest.
As for the mermaid, well, I don’t necessarily know why he got it, though he did tell Hollywood Life in 2014 that it’s because he is a mermaid, but he did tell a fan that the mermaid has “saggy boobs” because “Everyone should love themselves for how they are. They shouldn’t strive for perfection.”
The other big tat here is the rose that seems to expand whenever Harry works out, because I swear it wasn’t blooming this much when he got it. Alas, I don’t know exactly why he got it, but it’s beautiful.
On a trip to Brazil with One Direction in 2014, Harry tattooed the name of the country high up on his left thigh – very nearly on his butt. He often appeared very happy on stage in Brazil, as well as excited to be in the country, so it seems as though he showed his love with a tattoo.
Harry’s ship on his left bicep has always been a fan favorite. The tattoo artist who did it said Harry said he wanted an English ship to remind him “that he’s homeward bound.”
All the Rest of Them
Listen, Harry has more than 60 tattoos, and many of them aren’t seen often. I know I’m missing a few scribbles, but I’ll give you my best effort at a laundry list of the ones I haven’t previously mentioned.
- Green Bay Packers Logo: Harry has long been a fan of the NFL team and got this tattoo on his upper left arm on a bet several years ago.
- Iced Gem: He has an iced gem cookie in this area of his left arm as well, presumably for his sister, Gemma.
- Gemma in Hebrew: The Hebrew letters on the top of Harry’s left arm mean Gemma, again for his sister.
- Pingu: This small tattoo on Harry’s left arm matches the Pingu character that Ed Sheeran has tattooed on himself. They got them after drinking one night and discussing how much they loved the cartoon.
- Hi: He has the word “Hi” tattooed on his inner left arm, and while fans have plenty of theories behind its meaning, Harry hasn’t actually shared anything about it.
- Star: The star is sitting among the tiny tattoos on his left upper arm.
- Clothes Hanger: This is up in the same mess as Harry’s other small tattoos on his left arm.
- Can I Stay: This line is at the top of his left arm.
- Arlo and Jackson: Harry has these tattoos on his left arm, supposedly for his godchildren.
- Fly: There’s a large flying insect on the inside of Harry’s left arm.
- Pink Floyd: Harry’s upper left arm has a small Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon logo.
- Guitar: There’s a small guitar at the top of Harry’s left arm, almost on his back.
- Theater Masks: Two traditional theater masks are inked on Harry’s left side.
- Birdcage: Harry’s birdcage is tattooed on his left side.
- SMCL and X: Under the birdcage are the letters SMCL, which supposedly mean “smile now, cry later,” which ties this all in with the theater masks if it’s correct.
- 17 Black: This tat is on Harry’s chest, and the tattoo artist who did it told British GQ that he got it because he’d lost some money gambling on 17 black.
- 3 Nails: These are on his upper left arm.
- LA + NY + LON: The three city abbreviations are on his upper left arm, and I can only assume they’re three of his favorite places.
- Black Heart: Both Zayn Malik and former One Direction hairstylist Lou Teasdale also have this tattoo, and whether or not that makes it a friendship tattoo is up to you to decide, but I’m saying it is. You can find Harry’s on his upper left arm.
- R: The “R” near the mermaid on his left arm is most assuredly for his stepdad, Robin Twist.
- Padlock: This tiny tat on Harry’s left wrist was inked by Ed Sheeran.
- Key: There’s a tiny key next to the padlock as well. Just in case, I suppose.
- Shamrock: There’s a tiny shamrock on his left wrist, an ode to one of his favorite tattoo shops, Shamrock Social Club in LA.
- Aquarius: Harry has a small Aquarius symbol, which is his star sign, on his left wrist.
- 99p: Yes, Harry even has a tattoo for 99 pence on his left wrist for whatever reason.
- Small Crosses: Harry has a couple small crosses on his chest, presumably for loved ones.
- Palm Tree: Harry has a palm tree tattoo on the back of his right arm, and while I don’t know for certain why he got it, I do know his sister has the same tattoo.
- California: There’s a scribble on Harry’s upper thigh that supposedly reads “California,” but this one is too new for me to know for sure.
- Broken Heart: There’s a small broken heart near one of his swallows on his chest.
- Never Gonna Dance Again: The fronts of Harry’s ankles say “Never Gonna” and “Dance Again,” most likely for the George Michael song.
- Screws: On the inside of each ankle, Harry has two small “X”s that are meant to look like the heads of screws. Zayn, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson all also have these, and they got them as a band to stay grounded. Niall Horan – who is tattoo-free – is the only one who chose not to get the band tattoo.
- Big: Harry did this one himself – he tattooed the word “Big” on his big toe just for fun.