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the marking of the skin with punctures into which pigment is rubbed. The word originates from the Tahitian tattau [to mark]. The term is sometimes extended to scarification, which consists of skin incisions into which irritants may be rubbed to produce a permanent raised scar. Tattooing is an ancient practice; evidence for it has been found on mummified remains in Europe and South America that are more than 5,000 and 4,500 years old, respectively. The modern method of tattooing employs an electric needle. Puncture tattooing reached its most elaborate and artistic development among the Maori of New Zealand and among the Japanese, who perfected the use of color. It was introduced into Europe by sailors.

In modern Western cultures, tattooing has been alternately regarded as a somewhat vulgar practice and as a sign of high fashion. It has been used by modern states as an instrument of control, as in the identification of criminals and political prisoners; it is also used to identify race horses. In medicine, it used primarily in cosmetic surgery, for example, to remove birthmarks by injecting a pigment of the color of the natural skin. Tattoos may be removed by a slow, difficult process.

Tattooing has been banned in some areas for health reasons; unclean needles can transmit hepatitis or HIV, the virus leading to AIDS. The Old Testament enjoins the Israelites against the practice, it was forbidden by Muhammad, and a Roman Catholic council condemned it in 787. For the significance of tattooing and scarification, see body-markingbody-marking,
painting, tattooing, or scarification (cutting or burning) of the body for ritual, esthetic, medicinal, magic, or religious purposes. Evidence from prehistoric burials, rock carvings, and paintings indicates that body-marking existed in ancient times; ethnographic
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See C. R. Sanders, Customizing the Body (1989); J. Caplan, ed., Written on the Body (2000).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a tattoo?

Since a tattoo is originally a sign of initiation, this dream symbol may indicate that the dreamer is entering a new stage in his or her life.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


a picture or design made on someone's body by pricking small holes in the skin and filling them with indelible dye
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

motherboard tattoo

A unique system identification stored in the PC's BIOS. It ensures that the recovery CD-ROMs that came with the PC or that are generated on the PC can only be used to restore the system on that computer. The tattoo prevents people from using the discs to install the OS on other machines. If the recovery discs are lost, the tattoo may have to be reprogrammed by the vendor. See motherboard and BIOS.

Tech Tats

Biowearable circuits temporarily applied to a person's skin. Pioneered by Chaotic Moon Studios, Austin, TX, this high-tech tattoo uses actual electronic components including a microcontroller. The circuit and sensor paths are conductive ink adhered directly on the skin. See biowearable.

A Tech Tats Tattoo
Health data are transmitted to the user's mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy (LE). (Image courtesy of Chaotic Moon Studios.)
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Tattoos may represent those things in our lives that seem only “skin deep” but may be interesting and fun. They could represent our thinking, our playful ways, and our seemingly unimportant habits. As time progresses, we may realize that our passing fads have become permanent. Thus, a tattoo may be symbolic of something that we inflict on ourselves, is permanent if not deep, and generally carries with it some negativity.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
After the short talk, Esguerra told Mercado she was ready to give tattooing a try and that she only needed to find someone to tattoo. Upon hearing this, she was obviously surprised saying, 'So okay na ako?
Some want to establish their identity or independence, while others get a tattoo in order to assert ownership of their body.
If you have a lot of visible tattoos, they can prove to be something of an issue in some lines of work, with many employers requiring them to be hidden at all times.
While the tattoo boom can only be a good thing for artists like Kev, will it ever go out of fashion, leaving a generation of youngsters seeking painful laser treatment for tattoo removal?
Consumers that receive a tattoo with the recalled ink may have a rash or lesions that consist of red papules in the area of the tattoo.
The tattoo competitions will be rounded up with the highlight being the Best of the Show.
Being in the tattoo industry has helped me so much - it's saved my life.
Kayleigh, who lives in Birmingham, got the unusual design on her first day as a tattoo apprentice when she was 24.
[USA] Aug 20 ( ANI ): Getting a tattoo for teenagers is a fad these days, in contrast their parents are concerned about the negative health effects, social acceptance, and their child's professional career, a new study reveals.
You feel lost, you feel unwanted, and most of all you have no idea whether or not the tattoo artist is any good.
When Razouq finished the tattoo on Lamark's arm, he said that it's the sign of coming to Jerusalem, it is a visa printed on the skin, while Lamark, still with the blue ink on her wrist, said that this is how she will keep her memory of Jerusalem forever, as her friend who accompanied her to the tattoo shop agreed.
Until the present moment, the discovery did not appertain to artefacts with the Oxford University researchers that found that the oldest tattoo discovered in the world was on the arms of two Egyptian mummies that date back to the predynastic period.