There are 2 main definitions of tattoo in English:

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tattoo1

Syllabification: tat·too
Pronunciation: /taˈto͞o
 
/

noun (plural tattoos)

1An evening drum or bugle signal recalling soldiers to their quarters.
Example sentences
  • From the 17th century drums and trumpets sounded tattoo, originally an instruction to turn off the taps of beer or wine-barrels, to call men back to quarters at the end of the day.
1.1An entertainment consisting of music, marching, and the performance of displays and exercises by military personnel.
Example sentences
  • While the band no longer performs at military tattoos, it is, on occasion, recalled to active duty.
  • He was thrown off his Honda then hit by another bike in front of hundreds of spectators at a military tattoo in West Bergholt.
  • The top of Blake Street was a wonderful vantage point for watching the many parades, processions and military tattoos that regularly took to the streets.
1.2A rhythmic tapping or drumming.
Example sentences
  • All year long the war drums have been beating an insistent tattoo but recently the rhythm seemed to be leading nowhere.
  • My heart beat a nervous tattoo in my chest, the rest of my body frozen in place.
  • The vibrant music and the exhilarating beat of the tribals were infectious and soon many in the audience, including yours truly, were beating a tattoo on the floor.

Origin

mid 17th century (originally as tap-too): from Dutch taptoe!, literally 'close the tap (of the cask)!'.

More
  • The military tattoo sounded by a drum or bugle to recall soldiers to their quarters in the evening was originally written tap-too. It comes from Dutch doe den tap toe, which meant literally ‘close the tap’. The tap was on a cask, closing it signalled the time for drinking was over and soldiers should go home. Tattoos on the skin are a different word, which came into English in the 18th century from the Polynesian languages of the Pacific Islands—Captain Cook's journals are the first to record the word. See also taboo

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There are 2 main definitions of tattoo in English:

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tattoo2

Syllabification: tat·too
Pronunciation: /taˈto͞o
 
/

verb (tattoos, tattoing, tattooed /-ˈto͞od/)

[with object]
1Mark (a person or a part of the body) with an indelible design by inserting pigment into punctures in the skin: his cheek was tattooed with a winged fist
More example sentences
  • First of all, there is a significant difference between tattooing the body, cutting the body, piercing the body, painting the body and writing on the body.
  • Without exception they paint their bodies, they tattoo their bodies, they decorate their bodies and they clothe their bodies.
  • The four defendants were charged for tattooing their bodies to evade conscription immediately after they were judged physically competent to serve in the military.
1.1Make (an indelible design) on a part of the body by inserting pigment into punctures in the skin: he has a heart tattooed on his left hand
More example sentences
  • He did everything short of tattooing the organization's logo on his forehead.
  • One of the drinkers at the bar informed me that Noi is a real butterfly; in fact she has the image of a small butterfly tattooed over her heart.
  • The little cross tattooed on my left hand is a memory of my Latino friends when I lived in Phoenix.

noun (plural tattoos)

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A design made by tattooing.
Example sentences
  • But for soldiers, getting tattoos has for many years been a way of nurturing a sense of solidarity with their fellow troops.
  • We must be prepared for all possibilities, not just the ones that play into reporters' preconceived notions about hunters, soldiers, tattoos and guns.
  • It has also been believed that someone with a tattoo in a certain pattern calls upon the spirit corresponding to that image.

Origin

mid 18th century: from Tahitian, Tongan, and Samoan ta-tau or Marquesan ta-tu.

More
  • The military tattoo sounded by a drum or bugle to recall soldiers to their quarters in the evening was originally written tap-too. It comes from Dutch doe den tap toe, which meant literally ‘close the tap’. The tap was on a cask, closing it signalled the time for drinking was over and soldiers should go home. Tattoos on the skin are a different word, which came into English in the 18th century from the Polynesian languages of the Pacific Islands—Captain Cook's journals are the first to record the word. See also taboo

Derivatives

tattooer

1
noun
Example sentences
  • There are possibilities in this direction for the tattooer who is willing to sacrifice his art.
  • Also one of the worst things for me is tattooers who don't have any tattoos, or barely any.
  • Now you know that you have to be both a fan and an artist in order for other tattooers to take you seriously.

tattooist

2
Pronunciation: /taˈto͞oist/
noun
Example sentences
  • ‘I heard there was a lack of quality tattooists in the Mid West,’ he said.
  • He liked the idea of artists becoming tattooists, not drunken bikers… he helped to legitimise the whole world of tattooing, which was in a dark tunnel for a long time.
  • If joined end-to-end, these ads would be a separate feature lasting an hour and starring fast food meal deals, electrical goods salespeople and tattooists.

Definition of tattoo in:

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