Teardrop tattoo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Tear tattoo)
Jump to: navigation, search
Rapper Lil Wayne with teardrop tattoos below his eyes.

The teardrop tattoo or tear tattoo is a symbolic tattoo of a tear that is placed underneath the eye. The teardrop is one of the most widely recognised prison tattoos[1] and has various meanings: it can signify that the wearer has spent time in prison;[2] that the wearer was raped while incarcerated[3][4] and tattooed with a teardrop under the eye by the offending party,[3] this was a way of “marking” an inmate as property or to publicly humiliate the inmate as face tattoos cannot be hidden.[4] It can acknowledge the loss of a family or fellow gang member;[5] or in some cases, that the wearer has killed someone.[6] Sometimes the exact meaning of the tattoo is only known by the wearer.[5][7] The tattoo's meaning also can change depending on whether the tear is empty or is filled with ink.[6]

The tattoo is sometimes worn by the female companions of prisoners in solidarity with their loved ones.[8] According to The Devil's Front Porch, a book written by Lester Douglas Johnson about serving 1927 to 1957 in Kansas State Penitentiary; the tattoo denoted a member of "The Old Fraternity"; referring to the Biblical Cain who slew his brother.[citation needed]

US rappers The Game and Lil Wayne have teardrop tattoos signifying the death of friends.[9][10] Amy Winehouse had a teardrop tattooed to mark her distress at husband Blake Fielder-Civil remaining on remand at Pentonville Prison.[10] Basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire has had a teardrop tattoo since 2012; honoring his older brother Hazell Jr. who had died in a car accident.[11] A teardrop tattoo is also worn by a Portuguese footballer Ricardo Quaresma.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "15 prison tattoos and their meanings: Corrections One". correctionsone.com. The teardrop is one of the most widely recognised prison tattoos. 
  2. ^ Macdonald, John Marshall (1987). The confession: interrogation and criminal profiles for police officers. Apache Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780961823009. A teardrop tattoo below the corner of the eye represents five years in prison. 
  3. ^ a b "Four Days in the Oaxaca State Prison : Mexico Living". mexconnect.com. Retrieved 3 November 2016. the victim of rape is tattooed with a teardrop below the eye by the offending party 
  4. ^ a b "Teardrop Tattoo Meaning: Tattoos With Meaning". tattooswithmeaning.com. a way of “marking” an inmate as property of another person or for humiliation; a face tattoo cannot be covered up or hidden. 
  5. ^ a b Poljac, Bakir; Burke, Tod (August 2008). "Erasing the Past: Tattoo-Removal Programs for Former Gang Members". FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. 77 (8). pp. 13–18. 
  6. ^ a b Smith, Brendan (April 25, 2008). "Tattoo Regret". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  7. ^ WOLF, SONJA; Logan, Samuel (August 2010). "This is for the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America's Most Violent Gang". Journal of Latin American Studies. 42 (3): 627–629. doi:10.1017/s0022216x10000994. 
  8. ^ Santos, Xuan (Fall 2009). "The Chicana Canvas: Doing Class, Gender, Race, and Sexuality through Tattooing in East Los Angeles". Feminist Formations. 21 (3): 91–120. 
  9. ^ Binelli, Mark (April 16, 2009). "Life on Planet Wayne". Rolling Stone. pp. 43–47, 73–74. 
  10. ^ a b Hooper, Mark (10 December 2007). "Catch of the day: Amy's new tattoo". theguardian.com. Retrieved 3 November 2016 – via The Guardian. 
  11. ^ Lorenzo, Tom (2012-02-14). "Amar'e Stoudemire Honors His Late Brother By Getting A "Teardrop" Tattoo". Sports Grid. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  12. ^ "No-one knows why Ricardo Quaresma has two tear tattoos on his face". dreamteamfc.com. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.