Puzzle tattoo meaning and symbolism

A tattoo design that becomes more and more popular among tattoo lovers all over the world is a puzzle piece.

It is not really surprising, considering how often this image appears in pop culture.

The most common place where you can see it is on t-shirts, with slogans like “What puzzle are you working on today?”, or “Life’s a puzzle!”.

It is not a coincidence that tattoos depicting jigsaw pieces have become so popular.

Puzzle tattoo designs are a powerful symbol that can tell a lot about the wearer’s personality and general attitude towards life.

Of course, this kind of symbolism goes much deeper than you might think, but before we get into these details, let’s start from the basics.

puzzle arm tattoo
puzzle arm tattoo @ tattooist_mauve

What does a puzzle tattoo stand for?

A missing piece

A puzzle tattoo design typically represents a piece of a larger whole, and it is up to the wearer to figure out what belongs in that larger picture.

One example would be a man who has been trying to solve the relationship riddle for years, with no success. No matter what he tries, his relationships never last longer than a few months.

As a result, he decides that there must be something missing in his life, and he gets a tattoo depicting a puzzle piece with the word “missing” written underneath it.


Puzzle tattoos can also represent one’s struggle to put together all aspects of their lives into a well-functioning whole. The jigsaw pieces in the tattoo are not there because of the puzzle’s drawing, but rather because it is a fitting metaphor.

Individuals who struggle to put together all pieces of their lives get tattoos with jigsaw patterns to remind them that they need to work hard on figuring out how everything fits together. They need stability and coherence in all aspects of life.

Life journey

Puzzle tattoos can also be a symbolism of one’s life journey. A person gets a tattoo with a large, single piece depicting the image of a puzzle to emphasize that they are still searching for pieces that will help them fill in the blanks.

In this case, the symbol is not about finding all pieces and fitting them together in order to form a coherent whole, but rather about the never-ending journey for knowledge and self-discovery.


Puzzle tattoos can also symbolize that your life is a constant journey for knowledge; that you are always searching for the truth; that you must not be afraid to question yourself and other people on things they consider rational (just like in jigsaw puzzles, there is always one piece that does not fit, and one must find it).


The final puzzle tattoo meaning is more common among women. It is about motherhood.

The one-piece puzzle tattoo design with the word “mom” written underneath it symbolizes your yearning to be a mother or your desire to hold your baby in your arms for the first time.

And here is where we return to the puzzle tattoo designs as a symbol of one’s personality.

Does the number of puzzle pieces in your tattoo matter?

The fact that you choose such an image for your tattoo design can tell a lot about your personality. How? Well, it all depends on the number of puzzle pieces.

The number of pieces in a puzzle tattoo design can have a deep symbolism.

More than one piece is an indication that you are still searching for something. You might not know your life’s purpose just yet, or some aspect of your personality eludes you just like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle evades its owner. It is just out there, waiting to be discovered.

Five pieces or fewer is also a powerful symbol.

It suggests that you have your life together and you are satisfied with the way it is going so far. All the pieces may not fit perfectly yet, but you know where they all belong at the moment, and you will get around to solving this puzzle eventually.

What is more important than the exact number of pieces in a jigsaw puzzle tattoo design is the fact that these designs typically represent your personality and general attitude towards life.

puzzle arm tattoo
puzzle arm tattoo @ abraxas_tattoo_beaubourg