A Spade Tattoo Can Have Wholesome or NSFW Meanings Depending on Who You Ask

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Jan. 8 2024, Published 1:23 p.m. ET

People with black spade tattoos
Source: TikTok

Content warning: This article contains NSFW language

Getting a tattoo can be a big decision. After all, you're permanently inking your body with an image or a message that you want everyone to see. As such, most people who want tattoos take some time and serious thought as to what they might want to see on their bodies forever.

Some people go for images from their favorite shows or games while others might want to rep something stylish and stark. Others might even dare to get tattoos dedicated to their significant others at substantial risk.

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No matter what tattoo you get, though, you'll want to make sure that you know exactly what it means. Plenty of folks have gotten tattoos of Chinese or Japanese characters that mean something completely different than what they thought, often to their detriment. However, even certain colloquial symbols may carry vastly different meanings, like a pineapple, depending on who you ask. To that end, a spade tattoo can send off very different messages. So what does a spade tattoo mean? Here's what you should know.

Ace of Spades in a game of Blackjack
Source: Getty Images
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Spade tattoos can send all kinds of messages, even NSFW ones.

Interestingly enough, an official source for tattoo artists and talent hiring has entire pages dedicated to the meanings of certain tattoos, including a black spade tattoo. In case you aren't aware, a "spade" refers to the leaf-shaped symbol that you'll most often see associated with playing cards.

As far as a spade tattoo goes, it can signify all sorts of things. According to Certified Tattoo, spades were once considered to be bad luck among sailors. It was said that sailors who were tattooed with a spade were more likely to be buried at sea. It was also closely associated with criminals and societal underworlds.

Nowadays, black spade tattoos can represent good luck and refer to their use in some playing card games as the highest-ranking card.

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In some cases, a spade tattoo can represent strength and dominance. In others, a spade can refer to death and danger and might make you look edgy to others.

But while most of these meanings behind a spade tattoo can be considered rather poetic, there's one version of the tattoo that's pretty risque.

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According to one tattoo artist, there's a rather scandalous meaning behind a "queen of spades" tattoo. Apparently, having one can signify to others that they enjoy sexual activity with Black people with large penises. In this instance, someone with this tattoo can keep it hidden, but exposing it in a public setting can be viewed as a sign of being open to relations of that nature, though not necessarily as explicit consent.

The spade tattoo has certainly evolved throughout the years and can be viewed as remarkably wholesome, somewhat edgy, or even downright kinky. If you do plan on getting one, though, it's always important to keep in mind what it would mean to you.

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