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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 ?
It was as if the tattooer's very spirit entered into the design, and each injected drop of vermillion was like a drop of his own blood penetrating the girl's body.
In the late '90s, Garcia said, tattoo culture lost its ties to tradition, and no one was interested in getting tattooed by a tattooer. They wanted tattoo artists to decorate their bodies, so for several years Garcia made an attempt at artistry.
We can see this process at the very beginning of Tanizaki's career in his 1910 story, "Shisei" ("tattoo," widely anthologized in Hibbett's translation as "The Tattooer").
The tattooer then draws a string through the raised points of flesh.
"There have been female tattooers from the very beginning who were they pioneers...
His talents grew as he became a sick skater and a respected East Bay tattooer. Devon had a pretty good situation, but in 2006, it was taken away.
"In no way does winning this competition make me a better tattooer than any of these other artists.
The tattooer showed off a camouflage shark he had just finished permanently placing on Rihanna, which bears a striking similarity to a stuffed animal she was given by the Toronto native.
One of the main parts that upset Star was the tattooer used a public platform to end their friendship.
The tattooer talks directly to her former friend in part of the 13-minute video.
Star then seemed to confirm her allegations when he said the tattooer couldn't keep a man and that she was a "disgusting" person.
Celebrity tattooer Kat Von D broke a Guinness record on her T.V.