3 Dot Tattoo Meaning: What Does the 3 Dots Tattoo Mean?

Most tattoo enthusiasts consider tattoos much more than simple ink under the skin. Many people choose tattoos that have special meanings known only to them. Some may select a tattoo that speaks to others as well. The three dots tattoo is one of these.

Have you ever looked at someone with a three dots tattoo and wondered what it means? These tattoos are intriguing, and many people may not understand their significance.

One of the most widely recognized meanings of the 3 dots tattoo comes from Hispanic culture, where it is often associated with the phrase “mi vida loca,” which means “my crazy life.”

If you have ever looked at a three dots tattoo and wanted one, this guide will help you understand its meaning.

What Is the 3 Dot Tattoo?

The 3 dot tattoo is a tattoo made up of three small dots, often arranged in a triangular pattern. It is often associated with the phrase “mi vida loca,” which means “my crazy life.”

3 Dot Tattoo Meaning

What does the 3 dots tattoo mean? The most widely recognized meaning is “Mi Vida Loca” or “My Crazy Life,” representing minorities and the underprivileged.

They can also symbolize ellipses, the unsaid in a conversation, or the past, present, and future. Additionally, three dot tattoos may be associated with honoring heritage, beliefs, and culture, gang influence, rebellion, or signifying prison time.

That being said, the meaning often changes depending on the part of the body. For instance, those around the eye have an entirely different significance than those on the arm.

1. Mi Vida Loca

One of the primary meanings behind three dot tattoos, no matter what you have heard, is “Mi Vida Loca.” Translated into English, this means “My Crazy Life.” Although people of all races and backgrounds may have three dot tattoos, they often represent minorities and the underprivileged in today’s society.

2. Ellipses

Some three dots tattoos represent ellipses. Have you ever had someone text you and end with three dots at the end of the line? These are ellipses. Today, they mean so much more than a few random dots. Ellipses are the “unsaid” of a conversation.

3. Past, Present, and Future

The dot-dot-dot represents the past, present, and future. These dots essentially mean that everyone on Earth has a past, present, and future, whether good or bad. People with three dot tattoos tell the world they are aware of their history but are living in the here and now and looking forward to the future.

4. Respecting and Honoring Their Heritage, Beliefs, and Culture

The 3 dots tattoo can also represent respect for someone or something, such as a deceased loved one, a religious figure, or a particular set of beliefs or values.

Most people with three dot tattoos know their lives may seem chaotic to the outside world, but they are living life in a way that honors their heritage, beliefs, and culture, whether anyone else values their efforts or not.

5. Loyalty and Gang Influence

In some subcultures, such as motorcycle clubs or street gangs, the 3 dot tattoo can be a symbol of loyalty to a particular group or organization.

People who wear the three dots tattoo prominently placed between the eye and temple want others to know of their outlaw lifestyle. This tattoo is a good way for gangs to identify their own.

6. Prison Time

Some people will get these tattoos in prison to commemorate their time spent in the cooler. While most people don’t want to admit they have been incarcerated, others seem to announce it to the world proudly.

7. Non-conformity

In some subcultures, such as punk or goth, the 3 dot tattoo can represent a rejection of mainstream norms or a desire to live outside of society’s expectations.

8. Religious Symbolism

The three dot tattoo can also be a symbol of religious faith. In Christianity, the three dots may represent the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), while in Hinduism, the three dots may represent the third eye or spiritual enlightenment.

Overall, the meaning of the 3 dot tattoo is highly personal and can vary widely depending on the individual wearer. It’s important to consider the context and personal interpretation of the tattoo before making any assumptions about its meaning.

3 Dots Tattoo Designs

Three dots tattoos are just as varied as their owners. Most everyone with these tattoos has some kind of story to tell. The following are some of the top recommended three dots tattoo designs. Let these give you some ideas if you are considering getting one.

1. 3 Dot Triangle Tattoo

If you see someone with a three-dot triangle tattoo, this likely means they have either been in a gang, spent a long time in prison, or both.

Some people get this tattoo and have never been in prison or a gang. For them, the meaning of the three dots triangle is Pythagoras, a symbol of harmony.

In India, women wear a three-black dot triangle because they believe it protects them from evil spirits. Today, modern women often get the three-dot triangular tattoo instead of wearing mascara dots.

2. 3 Dot Tattoo in a Vertical Line

Sometimes, people wear the three dots tattoo vertically to represent life, death, and reincarnation. Some people consider the vertical design to mean the stages of life, while others say it represents the years in their lives.

3 Dot Tattoo Meaning: What Does the 3 Dots Tattoo Mean?

Source: Indigo Goose.

3. 3 Dot Tattoo in a Horizontal Line

If you see someone with a three horizontal dot tattoo, this likely means their birth, life, and death. People also consider the meaning a much deeper one that means life continues on, and only the wearer can control their destiny.

4. Filled In Three Dots Tattoo

Most people fill their three dots tattoos in with black or various colors, depending on their preferences. There is no particular meaning to filling in the dots.

5. Three Dots Tattoos With Letters or Numbers

Some people will add numbers and letters to their three dots tattoos. These have no worldwide meaning and often represent the person’s initials or those of a loved one. The numbers may represent birthdates or other special dates.

It’s important to remember that the meaning of the 3 dots tattoo can vary depending on the individual wearing it and the culture they come from, so it’s always a good idea to do research and consult with a tattoo artist before getting one.

3 Dot Tattoo Meaning: What Does the 3 Dots Tattoo Mean

Source: 2020 Vision.

3 Dot Tattoo Placement

The tattoo is typically found on the hand, face, or neck. That being said, the placement of a 3 dots tattoo can vary depending on the individual’s preference and the design of the tattoo.

Here are some common placements for the 3 dots tattoo:

  • On the hand: The 3 dots tattoo is often placed on the back of the hand, between the thumb and index finger. This placement is common among people who have spent time in prison, as the tattoo is said to symbolize the phrase “mi vida loca” or “my crazy life.”
  • On the face: The 3 dots tattoo can also be placed on the face, often near the eye or on the cheekbone. This placement can be associated with gang affiliation or criminal activity, so it’s important to approach it with caution and consider the potential consequences before getting one.
  • On the neck: The 3 dots tattoo can be placed on the side or back of the neck, often in a triangular pattern. This placement is less conspicuous than a face or hand tattoo, but can still be visible if the hair is pulled back.
  • Behind the ear: The 3 dots tattoo can be placed behind the ear, often in a vertical or triangular pattern. This placement is subtle and can be easily covered with hair or clothing.
  • On the wrist: The 3 dots tattoo can be placed on the inner or outer wrist, often in a line or triangular pattern. This placement is popular among people who want a discreet tattoo that is easy to cover with clothing.

3 Dots Tattoo Pros and Cons

Most people believe there are more pros to getting a three dots tattoo than cons, but you need to weigh them both before jumping into the chair.


  • Honor your life
  • Honor your past
  • Motivate yourself
  • Start conversations


  • Trouble with the cops
  • Poor reputation
  • Too many people asking questions

3 Dot Tattoo vs. 3 Triangle Tattoo (The Valknut Tattoo)

The 3 dots tattoo and 3 triangle tattoo (sometimes referred to as “the Valknut tattoo”) are two distinct tattoos with different meanings and origins.

The 3 dot tattoo is a more modern symbol with a range of possible interpretations. It can represent elements of a wild or dangerous lifestyle, loyalty, respect, protection, prison time, or non-conformity, among other things.

3 Dot Tattoo Meaning: What Does the 3 Dots Tattoo Mean?

On the other hand, the 3 triangle tattoo is an ancient symbol of Norse mythology that consists of three interlocking triangles. It is also known as the “knot of the slain” and was often associated with the god Odin and his warriors.

The Valknut is believed to represent the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and has been found on various Viking artifacts, including runestones and tombstones.

Is a Three Dots Tattoo Right For You?

You now know more than ever about three dots tattoos and their meanings. Although they often have more significance to the wearer than others, these tattoos undoubtedly make a statement to the world. Is this tattoo right for you? Where are you considering placement? No matter what you decide, make sure to think twice because tattoos are forever.

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