Definition of tattoo noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//təˈtuː//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tæˈtuː//
    (pl. tattoos)
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  1. 1a picture or design that is marked permanently on a person’s skin by making small holes in the skin with a needle and filling them with coloured ink His arms were covered in tattoos. She has a tattoo of a tiger on her shoulder. CollocationsClothes and fashionClothes be wearing a new outfit/bright colours/fancy dress/fur/uniform be (dressed) in black/red/jeans and a T-shirt/your best suit/leather/silk/rags (= very old torn clothes) be dressed for work/school/dinner/a special occasion be dressed as a man/woman/clown/pirate wear/dress in casual/designer/second-hand clothes wear jewellery/(especially US English) jewelry/accessories/a watch/glasses/contact lenses/perfume have a cowboy hat/red dress/blue suit on put on/take off your clothes/coat/shoes/helmet pull on/pull off your coat/gloves/socks change into/get changed into a pair of jeans/your pyjamas/(especially US English) your pajamasAppearance change/enhance/improve your appearance create/get/have/give something a new/contemporary/retro look brush/comb/shampoo/wash/blow-dry your hair have/get a haircut/your hair cut/a new hairstyle have/get a piercing/your nose pierced have/get a tattoo/a tattoo done (on your arm)/a tattoo removed have/get a makeover/cosmetic surgery use/wear/apply/put on make-up/cosmeticsFashion follow/keep up with (the) fashion/the latest fashions spend/waste money on designer clothes be fashionably/stylishly/well dressed have good/great/terrible/awful taste in clothes update/revamp your wardrobe be in/come into/go out of fashion be (back/very much) in vogue create a style/trend/vogue for something organize/put on a fashion show show/unveil a designer’s spring/summer collection sashay/strut down the catwalk/(North American English also) runway be on/do a photo/fashion shoot
  2. 2(especially British English) an outdoor show by members of the armed forces that includes marching, music and military exercises the Edinburgh military tattoo
  3. 3[usually singular] a rapid and continuous series of taps or hits, especially on a drum as a military signal The drummers beat a tattoo each morning. Her fingers tapped a light tattoo on the table. George felt his heart begin to beat a tattoo against his ribs.
  4. Word Originnoun sense 1 mid 18th cent.: from Tahitian, Tongan, and Samoan ta-tau or Marquesan ta-tu. Marquesan is the Polynesian language of the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. noun senses 2 to 3 mid 17th cent. (originally as tap-too) from Dutch taptoe!, literally ‘close the tap (of the cask)!’.Extra examples He sported a barbed-wire tattoo on his left arm. I took to wearing a temporary tattoo on my ankle. I’ve decided to get my tattoo removed. She had a tattoo of a swallow on her shoulder. She’s having a tattoo done on her leg.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: tattoo

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