Tragically Wrong Tattoos

I can’t figure out how to link to just the photo, so these links will take you to the web site (, which might give your anti-virus software some trouble.


here, and

lastly, here

The first one takes up the bottom left quadrant of a young woman’s back. It’s nicely rendered and is supposed to be the Arabic words for “Serenity, Strength and Courage.”
The words as they should appear are صفاء, شجاعةand I think on the last one she must have been going for مقاومة. There is a real difficulty when it comes to mixing Arabic and English text. For example, in the above sentence, I typed صفاء before I typed شجاعة, and the computer program switched them. It’s very common when copying and pasting to have your letters get transposed. This is what happened to this poor tattoo victim.

This is why I strongly recommend that anyone who isn’t a fluent reader of Arabic consult a professional before having Arabic tattooed upon you. A graphic artist can write the words correctly for you and art them up so that they don’t look like the Arabic equivalent of Times New Roman on your back.

The second tattoo is unidentifiable, I can’t tell what it’s supposed to say.

And the third one is the word “Lebanon,” backwards.

Update: Huzzah! I was able to link to first tattoo, which is also the most regrettable one.

Good idea. Poor execution

Good idea. Poor execution



Filed under arabic, miscellaneous

15 responses to “Tragically Wrong Tattoos

  1. Josh

    ohhh those poor, poor people! the first one really is a piece of work. why wouldn’t you check first on something like that…

  2. Dani

    الوقوع في الحب مع نفسك هو بداية حياة طويلة الرومانسية

    what exactly does this translate too?

  3. Yes, this tattoo is an example of how wrong you can get with foreign language tattoos… especially with those you don’t even know what to look for – in Arabic you must look to see if it is cursive. If not – that is a red light right there…

    • Good luck with your tattoo site. I think you’ll get a lot of business. I’ll be happy to see more exposure for Arabic writing out there; maybe the xenophobes will get used to it and not assume everything written in Arabic is a terrorist message.

  4. Pai

    First and foremost, I dont know where this came from, but I am really sorry that it managed to rear itself on the web.

    My apologies to whomever is deeply offended, but this is my tattoo.

    Really I just admire the art of arabic and how it looks…its mostly the *memory* I have of living in that region as a child that motivated me to get anything resembling it. Nobody really actually will understand what or why I chose this particular design and really I dont think I need to explain it. I wish that this picture could be removed so that I can get from beneath the scrutiny of people.

    Its a personal one sees it, and I guess for many of you I should consider myself lucky.

    Once again, my apologies to everybody that is just so disgusted with my tat…but seriously just take the picture down and forget you ever saw it…and be happy that you didnt put in on your body….but leave it alone.

    • Hi Pai, I’m sorry to have made you wait for so long. I’ve been thinking about your request. Actually, I’m still thinking about it. I’ll get back to you when I’ve made a decision.
      Have a good day.

    • ركينة

      I speak Arabic … I understand your love for the language. But you didn’t even connect the letters correctly? That is saying something. Let alone did you spell the words right. So, to be quite honest I don’t think you have a meaning for the tattoo as you are saying, but I think you just made a mistake. Seems like you tried to put into a translator, which never works. Sorry … But as a speaker it’s just disturbing. However, It’s your life, I won’t tell you how to live it.

  5. ali

    wow she screwed that one up.. my god , i feel sorry for her.

  6. youssef

    Viva Palestine ; Invited my In Msn 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    one question what is ”courage” in arabic?

  8. victoria

    can you please show me the proper arabic spelling for the name victoria, travis valerie and ronald, thank you

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