What's the meaning of 3 butterfly tattoo? Dainty ink goes viral

Yasmine Leung January 20, 2022
What's the meaning of 3 butterfly tattoo? Dainty ink goes viral
Photo by Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Butterfly tattoos have always been a popular choice but now the 3 butterfly tattoo is blowing up online, so what’s its meaning?

Flowers and butterflies are always a good first tattoo choice as they’re dainty and look great when small.

On TikTok, butterfly tats have 101.5 million views, with designs mostly seen on arms and, surprisingly, shoulders.

The 3 butterfly tattoo has recently gone viral alongside the semicolon butterfly, partly because of the “I ain’t never seen a pretty girl without a butterfly tattoo” sound. Now social media users want to know the meaning behind them.

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3 butterfly tattoo meaning explained

According to Tattoo Stylist, butterfly tattoos represent rebirth, change and freedom as caterpillars go through metamorphosis to emerge as butterflies. With that in mind, they’re go-to designs for people who want to honour their struggles and milestones.

Butterfiles are also believed to be winged messengers sent by loved ones who have passed away, so many opt for the ink to represent their family or children.

The number three reportedly carries positive connotations as the angel number three is connected with “positive energy and optimism, as well as a sign of self-expression and creativity”.

Pair that with butterflies and the art has the ultimate meaning of enduring and letting go of the difficult times and having a positive outlook from now on.

Check out these TikTok tattoos:

In October 2021, one questionable opinion tweet regarding girls with butterfly tattoos went viral. Obviously there’s no correlation between girls who do and don’t have the design, but users have continued to joke around the statement.

It’s apparently a very popular choice, so much so one user called it “the new infinity sign”, which blew up in the late 2000s thanks to tumblr.

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What’s the meaning of the semicolon butterfly?

While the 3 butterfly tattoo is open to interpretation, the semicolon butterfly has a more universal meaning.

Project Semicolon is a non-profit organisation founded in 2013 to “support and honour those who have struggled with mental health”. To them, the punctuation mark is used “when an author could have chosen to end their sentence but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

Ultimately, a semicolon butterfly showcases your strength to overcome such painful experiences.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.