A key is a seemingly mundane everyday object but symbolically it can be used to represent different ideas, stories, and even express strong emotions. Considering the popularity of key tattoos for men and women, it certainly kindles the curiosity about the hidden meaning behind these beautiful works of art.
First off, it’s safe to say that not all key tattoos convey the same message. Different people can choose to wear the same tattoo for diametrically opposite reasons, while others may choose to get beautiful ornate key tattoos simply because they look nice.

Symbolism of Key Tattoos

Having established that not all key tattoos represent the same story let’s explore what key tattoos mean in general. To understand the meaning behind a key tattoo, you first must understand what a key represents. All keys have one common function, and that is to unlock. It helps open doors, uncover secrets, and unshackle barriers. This function alone can mean different things to different people. It can represent the act of breaking free from a suffocating relationship. The tattoo can also serve as a reminder to the wearer to be open to new ideas and opportunities and thus ‘unlock’ new possibilities. A key can also symbolize the key to someone’s heart and the fact that the wearer is waiting for the right person.

Popular Key Tattoo Designs And Their Meaning

Key tattoos for men can hide several different types of design details to represent different stories and meanings. Following are few of the most popular designs and what they typically mean.

Couples Lock And Key Tattoos: This is undoubtedly one of the most popular key tattoo designs. Couples usually get these tattoos together where one of them gets a key tattoo while the other one gets a lock. The meaning behind these lock-and-key tattoos is pretty obvious. A key is manufactured to fit a particular lock, and both the lock and the key is meaningless without each other. When lovers get lock-and-key tattoos, it represents that their lives are incomplete without each other and that they are soul mates.

Skeleton Key Tattoo: Unlike regular keys, skeleton keys can open all types of locks. A tattoo of a skeleton key thus represents unlocking different opportunities and walking new paths in life. Skeleton keys tattoos have intricate ornamental designs, and people often choose to get them because they look artistically beautiful. An ancient looking skeleton key tattoo can represent a person’s past and the mysteries that lie with it. It can also be used to tell a story of breaking free from a troubled past or a strained relationship.

Cross Key Tattoo: The cross key tattoo design has religious connotations. This Christian symbol appears in several buildings that have close ties with the church. The crossed key have its roots embedded in the Holy Bible where Jesus Christ said to St. Peter that he will give him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The crossed keys thus represent the keys to heaven and the religious belief that everyone will be judged after their death.

Check out the best key tattoos for men

Etched across the back of upper arm, this key tattoo in monochrome is a truly wonderful piece of artwork. The artwork features a rather impressive looking skull adorned with decorative handles on the sides as well as the top. The shoulder of the key resembles a screw while the tip itself is intricately designed.

Drawn across the chest, this impressive artwork would certainly appeal to those considering key tattoos. The monochromatic tattoo features a flying owl carrying a clock and a key in its talons. Once again, the bow of the key is a skull, adding a haunting appeal to the tattoo.

Sketched across the length of the back of the lower arm, this artwork would certainly interest men looking for key tattoo ideas. This tattoo in monochrome is rich in intricate detail with a beautiful metallic mask adorning the skull shaped bow of the key.

If you are actively looking for key tattoos idea, then your search ends now. Drawn on the forearm, this richly detailed artwork features an ornamental heart-shaped key ring joined with the key through a beaded thread. The key itself has a distinct Gothic style.

For those who are looking for a rather discreet key tattoo design, this artwork is certainly worth considering. Drawn across the feet, diagonally from ankle to toe, this monochromatic tattoo features a small key ring with an intricate and yet simple key.

If you are out and about hunting for key tattoos for guys, then this beautiful piece of artwork would interest you. Drawn across the forearm, this beautiful tattoo, in monochrome, features a lovely bow that resembles a crown. The phrase “follow your heart” written along the shoulder of the key further adds to its appeal.

For those who have been looking for key tattoos for men for a long time, the search ends now. This expansive and bold tattoo, etched across the chest in the dual color scheme, is a masterpiece. The artwork features a key with a heart-shaped bow, flanked on either side by two birds.

This artwork is for those who have been searching for something exotic and different when it comes to tattoo ideas for men. Drawn on the forearm, the artwork features a regal looking key surrounded by shaded regions, creating a wonderful illusion of a stormy night.

Drawn on the right side of the chest, with the bow pointing towards the shoulder, this tattoo is striking in its utter simplicity. The monochromatic artwork features an ancient key with a regal crown as its bow. The shade creates a beautiful floating effect, enhancing its overall appeal.

Here is a truly impressive piece of artwork, one that is bound to generate endless curiosity. This multi-colored artwork features a key with a clown shaped bow. Speckled with stars all around, the artwork further features a rather angry looking pirate.

More key tattoos for guys on the next page…