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[ta-too] /tæˈtu/
noun, plural tattoos.
the act or practice of marking the skin with indelible patterns, pictures, legends, etc., by making punctures in it and inserting pigments.
a pattern, picture, legend, etc., so made.
verb (used with object), tattooed, tattooing.
to mark (the skin) with tattoos.
to put (tattoos) on the skin.
Origin of tattoo2
1760-70; < Marquesan tatu; replacing tattow < Tahitian tatau
Related forms
tattooer, tattooist, noun
untattooed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tattooed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are not tattooed, always use the sumpitan, and have a peculiar dialect.

  • In addition to Joe Brown's identification, they had found a "W" tattooed on his arm.

    Australia Revenged Boomerang
  • She says she's a "tattooed Lady," an' she's all covered with picters.'

    Side Show Studies Francis Metcalfe
  • Another fact worthy of mention is the extent to which criminals are tattooed.

    Criminal Man Gina Lombroso-Ferrero
  • He put his square, dark hand, with its broken nails and tattooed wrist, beside the white one.

    Shadows of Flames Amelie Rives
British Dictionary definitions for tattooed


noun (pl) -toos
(formerly) a signal by drum or bugle ordering the military to return to their quarters
a military display or pageant, usually at night
any similar beating on a drum, etc
Word Origin
C17: from Dutch taptoe, from the command tap toe! turn off the taps! from tap tap of a barrel + toe to shut


verb -toos, -tooing, -tooed
to make (pictures or designs) on (the skin) by pricking and staining with indelible colours
noun (pl) -toos
a design made by this process
the practice of tattooing
Derived Forms
tattooer, tattooist, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Tahitian tatau
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tattooed



"signal," 1680s, "signal calling soldiers or sailors to quarters at night," earlier tap-to (1644, in order of Col. Hutchinson to garrison of Nottingham), from Dutch taptoe, from tap "faucet of a cask" (see tap (n.1)) + toe "shut." So called because police used to visit taverns in the evening to shut off the taps of casks. Transferred sense of "drumbeat" is recorded from 1755. Hence, Devil's tattoo "action of idly drumming fingers in irritation or impatience" (1803).

"pigment design in skin," 1769 (noun and verb, both first attested in writing of Capt. Cook), from a Polynesian noun (e.g. Tahitian and Samoan tatau, Marquesan tatu "puncture, mark made on skin").


"mark the skin with pigment," 1769; see tattoo (n.2). Related: Tattooed; tattooing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tattooed in Medicine

tattoo tat·too (tā-tōō')
n. pl. tat·toos
A permanent mark or design made on the skin by a process of pricking and ingraining an indelible pigment or by raising scars. v. tat·tooed, tat·too·ing, tat·toos

  1. To mark the skin with a tattoo.

  2. To form a tattoo on the skin.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for tattooed



A woman's breasts •Often with bodacious: bodacious tatas of Victoria's Secret commercials

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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