40 Grim Reaper Tattoos - Meanings, Photos, Designs for men and women


Looking at “Grim Reaper” tattoo, an unprepared person can seriously get scared. Fear of death is quite natural for representatives of the human race, but some tattoo fans often prefer this sinister image to others, less eerie.

Even in pagan times, our ancestors had a real cult of death. Striving to protect themselves from its destructive breathing, both young and old people took part in all sorts of rituals. Often they were carrying around a skull or a human bone — a kind of challenge to the “Grim Reaper” and a reminder to themselves that one day they would have to become its victim.

Grim Reaper is a symbolic image. It appeared in the 14th century, at the height of the bubonic plague epidemic, which killed off almost a quarter of the population of Europe. Echoes of ancient beliefs still exist today. A person that chose a tattoo depicting Grim Reaper seeks to live according to his/her own rules and likes to take risks.


Quite often, Grim Reaper is depicted in the decomposition with cards. This means not only that the owner of the tattoo is ready to play with death, but also that s/he doesn’t believe there is life after death. Often this terrible image is inked on the body of a prisoner and means that the person is able to take the life of another living being. Thieves ink Grim Reaper too. The image of a skull with a cross means that a person takes risks philosophically and knows that s/he can die any time having such a lifestyle. Sometimes “Grim Reaper” tattoo is chosen by a person inclined to vandalism, or the one whose worldview is close to Satanism.

This fascinating and terrible tattoo has a positive meaning as well. Some people think that death inked on body plays the role of a kind of amulet and is able to protect against all sorts of dangers. This is how modern bikers treat this image. Despite their flamboyant and brutal appearance, they often turn out to be sincere and kind people. Young ladies love this unusual plot too. Of course, “female” tattoos, even the ones depicting death, are much softer. In this case, the skull is accompanied by flowers, bows or petals.

In the esoterically philosophical sense, the image of Grim Reaper means rebirth and renewal. Death is a kind of a link in the cycle of life. And ultimately, who said that this was the deadlock and the end? The tattoo is inked mainly on chest or shoulder, although often other parts of the body, such as the stomach and back, are also subjected to this procedure.

Grim Reaper can be in ked in color and in a black and white version. Dark, cool shades are used for a colored composition, although there are tattoos, in which Grim Reaper has infernal flame in its eyes.


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