Awful Arabic Tattoos

Today I have collected a few pictures of absolute disasters of tattoos. I guess the thought process goes something like: “Ooh, Arabic writing is so pretty, I want something deep and meaningful tattooed on me. I’m going to send an email asking for a translation, and then tattoo whatever comes back on my body. Should I check with an actual Arabic speaker before getting the tattoo? Nah, why bother.”

These gems are the result. If you are the owner of one of these atrocities, I am so, so sorry for you. I really am. But you’re a moron for not checking.

Most Arabic tattoos use the equivalent of Ariel font, which in my opinion looks incredibly stale and boring, as opposed to an actual calligraphic work, which was done by a human being. I know I’m biased, but still. You want to do your entire forearm with your first name, like you might forget it or something, fine. But at least make it look nice.  Unlike this guy, who I assume is called Michael:


The reason it comes out like that is because this is the (only) font that most computers use for Arabic, unless they’re told otherwise, and since most Americans don’t have Arabic fonts on their computers, there isn’t an option.

As far as I can tell, these train wrecks come in two types: the kinds that look like a four-year old wrote them, but are technically correct, just hideous, and then the absolutely unforgivable mistakes that were ruined by computers.

See, when computers that don’t have Arabic language support get an Arabic word they break the letters into their individual forms. Most Arabic letters have up to four forms: alone, in the beginning of a word, in the middle of the word, and at the end. Here’s an example, with the letter Ha. The following reads, “ha hahaha”


But on a computer that didn’t recognize Arabic fonts, it would all show up like the first, unconnected letter, the one that looks like an O. On top of this, for some bizarre reason these computers also take the word and reverse the letter order. So “order” becomes “redro,” with all the letters written as their unconnected forms. In other words, total gibberish.

Lets have a look at the first group, the ones that are written correctly, just butt-ugly:


This says “without hardship there is no ease,” and looks like Stevie Wonder wrote it, on a dune buggy.


Ok. I’m going to ignore the butterflies in a trail of fairy-dust and focus on the Arabic, which I imagine this chick wanted to say “Big Mamma,” but since idiomatic expressions don’t really translate (huge surprise there, homeslice), it now says “The Large Mother” across her foot. Nice.


The thing about this one is, the geometric pattern in the background is pretty cool, and would have been a nice tattoo if he’d just have let well enough alone. The Arabic (usraty, my family) just runs through it like the fat kid streaking at prom.

Now on to the computer-addled fuckups.

Here is an example I’ve drawn up to illustrate what I mentioned earlier. The top word here says al-salaam (peace) and the bottom says mim, alif, lam, sin, lam, alif. It isn’t a word, its a few letters in a row. This is what happens if I tried to send al-salaam to a computer that doesn’t have Arabic language support. Incidentally, I saw a picture of some moron with that tattooed on him, in huge letters across his forearm. Poor guy.


Most tattoo disasters fall into this category, and that is a mistake that is 100% preventable. Go find an Arab, show him the printout you’re taking to the tattoo parlor and ask what it means. When he says ‘Nothing at all,’ you know you have a problem.


I’m going to try and decipher this. Beloved wife, princess protects, this is me soft (transliterated from English) I will protect. Pure poetry, even once you put the letters back together and reorder them.


Princess, backwards and unconnected.


Queen, unconnected.


The person claimed this meant “unashamed.” I cant figure that out. Either way, its wrong.


This one is so screwed up it’s not even funny. I don’t know where to start with this, so I won’t. Ecchh.


More backwards gibberish, I don’t even have the energy to try and decipher it at this point. All I know is that in addition to having to look at your awful tattoo, I don’t want to have to look at your ass crack to boot.


Wow! Backwards, unconnected, and ugly! You’re so deep and inspiring…


“This says Michael in Arabic.” No it doesnt. F-


And now! The pièce de résistance, this monstrosity. According to the website I found it on, it says “Serenity, Strength, Courage.” All I can say is, no, not even close. You poor, poor hipster. I feel no pity for you at all. HA! Every time I see this atrocity I have to laugh!

Basically what I’m saying here is this: tattoos are forever, so don’t be impulsive with your decision. If you really want a tattoo in Arabic, go through a native-speaking translator if it’s more than a few words, and through a calligrapher for the art work itself. If you are serious about wanting an Arabic tattoo, please visit my site Arabic Calligraphy Design, or send me an email at with the phrase you want written, and I will write you back.

For an example of the difference between computer written Arabic fonts and hand-written calligraphy, have a look at the two pictures below. Both say al-quwa al-dakhilia, one written by a computer, one by me.



~ by Josh on June 10, 2009.

146 Responses to “Awful Arabic Tattoos”

  1. ha ha ha…funny as hell. Another good post.

  2. Awesome post, Berer.

  3. some good points here, could you be any more arrogant do you think?

  4. That was excellent, Josh. Thanks for posting it.

  5. HILARIOUS!!!!!

  6. Nice one, dude.

  7. ok i understand wat ur sayn i to want to get a tat dats arabic but im not noone in my family is but i feel dat the arabic writing is deep not cause its cute r nothing but its deep nex to hebrew but how ur makin it seem is like we cant put it on our body at all how do we know if we ask someone dats arabic wat it means thre going to give us the right info

    • I assume this is one of my friends trolling me, but if you’re for real, you’re my new favorite.
      Incidentally, I would love to design a tattoo for you.

      • Hi, i just found this post because i was doing some research on arabic tattoos. I am planning on getting an arabic wrist tattoo and an Egyptian friend of mine translated from english to arabic for me and who’d me how its written. She sent this to me via email, and i am worried that the tattoo may look too much like a cliche computer font. Can I send it to you?


  8. […] most, apparently. According to a brilliant and scathing post I stumbled upon last night regarding bad Arabic tattoos, things like this upcoming gem happen when people copy/paste Arabic into a word document that […]

  9. its funny how people really care what other people do with their lives. im going to get my mothers birthday in arabic on my wrist and i dont speak the language, does that mean i cant get the language on me. no so you get the fuck out of here, my mom loves the language because she knows it. Stupid ignorant people like you are pathetic. Get a life no actually get a chinese tattoo on your forehead that says dumb fuck. Im pretty sure you dont know the language but it suits you sooooo well. Bye retard.

    • I think what he is trying to say is DO UR RESEARCH, and it is kind of hard to be 100% sure if what you have written on ur body is correct unless you can read and write the language unless u really know someone that you trust will tell u the truth.

      • is the above post for real? if so, they need to go through some kind of basic reading comprehension course. anyway, very funny article and great advice. i have studied arabic for some time now and some of these examples made me giggle like a little school girl. these are epic examples of compulsive trips to the tattoo parlor. it also makes me breath a sigh of relief, as i once happened to get intoxicated with a friend and took his word for it when he said he had a latin quotation from virgil’s aeneid that we should both get tattood that very moment. only after sobering up did i confirm that the new tattoo on my chest contained the correct quotation and spelling. bullet dodged . . .

  10. hey if could i send yu 3 word in arabic my friend wrote for me to make sure is correct she is arabian and i fully trust her but i just need more opinions bout it i wont tell yu what i wanted it to say i want yu to tell me to see if its correct…

  11. Josh, great piece, learned something, laughed a lot.

  12. The reason that computers reverse the order of Arabic letters is that without support for right-to-left scripts, they treat all scripts as if they are written left-to-right. This is why it is important to get your translation in a PDF file which guarantees this does not happen.

  13. even better, that one girl’s foot tat actually says “the BIGGEST mother” haha 😡 epic failures all of them.

  14. well first off scene you know everything how would you write serenity in Arabic and second my whole dad side of the family is Jordain and speak Arabic and yet when i ask them to translate something for me they never write the same you knowing so much about Arabic writing you would know that its not easy to get that exact word or phrase you want…there are to many meanings for it in Arabic. but i am very interested in how you think serenity is written in Arabic.

    • the one that says serenity courage and whatever. the letters are not even in the proper order or connected correctly. anyone who has arab family members even if u dont know the language can easily know that il taa il marbouta is never in the beginning of a word and the mim is connected in a word. the words on her back are complete jibberish

  15. right i no what your saying but i think the writing is different for a tattoo and i was wondering if u could tell me how u spell Danielle in Arabic

  16. can you translate “where words fail, music speaks”?

  17. oh my god, i can read and write arabic, and my friend decided to get his dad’s nickname ‘butch’ in arabic on his chest, and he doesnt know arabic. he used an online translator and didnt check it with me or my friends, so he typed ‘butch’ into an online translator and he got the word سحاقية which means ‘lesbian’, but he thought it just pronounced the name ‘butch’, so he copied and pasted it, and the letters jumbled up and disconnected, so he has سحاقية tattooed on his chest backwards and disconnected so its not even a word….i wanna show you a picture, it would be the perfect addition to your website…. KD

  18. Thats awesome dude!!! could you e-mail me what Princess should properly look like when tattooed. I think I have it but just want to double check!! Thanks O and email is! Thanks!

  19. Josh – Just thought you might want to know that I found your blog while googling for a site dealing with bad Arabic tattoos.

    I just saw one of these monstrosities – a friend sent me a picture of a guy’s tat in HUGE “newspaper font”, as I call it, that was just a series of meaningless unconnected letters. He wanted to know what it said. I stared at the thing for a while, and tried to sound it out with every conceivable vowel combination I could, thinking he was just trying to spell out something in English with Arabic letters.

    After seeing this blog post, I thought, “Hmmmm I wonder if it was printer BACKWARDS” – Sure enough, it’s his first name in unconnected letters and backwards.

    What an idiot.

    I’ll send you a copy of the pic if you want. 🙂


  20. Hey I was wondering if you could tell me what the names Sophie & Lucas would look like in arabic. I got a translation from an old work collegue but not sue if its right.

  21. Do you know of anywhere else to get a correct translation. i dont know anyone personally that speaks it but would mean allot to get the correct spelling. its not even for a tattoo but for a quilt that my grandma is making

  22. it seems they all went to get their tats done at same shop 😀 or they all wanted to be able to read what tats say (by looking at mirror) in both cases, muy stupido

  23. i think it doest matter…by the end of the day tatoos dont need to mean anything…they can just be designs or figures …and what they got if they think its beautifull for them its none of our business. no need to get so angry and rude …

  24. Im getting a arabic tattoo. Im sure its correct. Its love in Arabic. Email me My boyfriend arabic and his cousin write it.

  25. I was wondering if you would be kind enough to recommend a good Arabic calligrapher who would be willing to create a tattoo of my son’s name ( I would pay for the service, naturally). Thank you.

  26. so how can i get you to write me a “correct” arabic translation??

  27. i would love to get mother is god in the eyes of a child on my spine please help i dont want a messed up one like these can you help me my mother is from iran and i tribute to her and also myself being a mother want this idea can you help me please and ty

  28. Hi there. I love what I just red. I’m lebanese/suryoyo and I speak arabic but I cant write arabic. My mother is an arabic teacher here in Sweden where we live. I wanted a tattoo that represented my moms and dads love for eachother because my dad passed away in cancer one month ago. I asked my mom if she could design the tattoo but she doesn’t like her own hand write so she told me to ask someone who’s good at it. If you have the time to help me, please, could you contact me?
    You can contact me on my e-mail
    Take care

  29. hi,um..well i was tryna get an arabic quote tattoo but after going dis, made me second think it,

    i was wondering if u can help me translate a quote,
    its an arabic proverb saying “a known mistake is better than an unknown truth”

    i’ve spent at least 3 days tryin to get it ryt but im still not sure of wat im getting myself into


  30. hi josh, I took what you said into deep consideration..can you please design a tatoo in arabic for me that either translates “from small beginnings come great things” (literally, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”) OR “every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around..” my email is

  31. i wanna get a real translation of a few words.. ive asked a friend thats taken arabic classes but im not sure if i can trust her. my email is

  32. i would like to know how to write my last name in Arabic

  33. Hi Josh,
    My names Hana, and I have a translation of my mothers name in arabic. I would love if you would consider designing me a tattoo or even just check that I am not committing to a dud tattoo. I’ve seen a lot of tattoo artist’s portfolios but none of them have appealed to me, as much as your work has. Would appreciate a reply either way.

    Kind regards,

  34. Hey Josh,
    I enjoyed reading your article about awful Arabic tattoos. Perhaps you might find my article about embarrassing Arabic tattoos here:

  35. i am going to get one..but after seein these messed up tats ima be more careful…lol….thankS.!!!

  36. Thanx for the article….i’m considering getting a tattoo in Arabic but I wanted to make sure that the tattoo actually translates to what it’s supposed to mean….Could you please translate SPIRIT, HEART, MIND 4 me?? Blessings

  37. Favorite blog post ever. I think my favorite is “emira” with the taa marbouta at the front of the word. I love Arabic and hate when people try to be pretentious and end up misusing it. Epic fail.

  38. my best friend and roommate, angham hasan, just recently passed away unexpectedly @ the age of 29. ive been searching all over for her name to b translated in arabic. ur help would be so very much appreciated. id also like, may allah rest your soul. thank you.

  39. Some of them Are called “Henna” And it needs Only WATER To Clean it -__-, Muslims Doesnt put Tattoos!

    -A Muslim Person!

  40. Hi, Ive been searching high and low to get an arabic tattoo meaning inner strength, And seeing your comments really dont want the same to happen with my tattoo, I have found the following whichh i believe to say ..the inner the strength. Could advise if this is true or not ?? Thanks very much !!

  41. sorry forgot to put the design on

    القوة الداخلية

    • that translates into inner strength properly
      u can put that on if u want
      (i know this reply is like a year later lawl)

  42. so… i’m the guy with the tattoo of usrati “running thru it like a fat prom date”. Your post about my tattoo doesn’t really have anything to do with the script which is your problem with the rest of these tattoos, which i’ll take as a compliment. Since i speak arabic and wrote that myself(no computer used). But if you’re going to rag on something like a tattoo maybe you want to find out exactly which part was done first. I had the script first and then decided i wanted the mosaic around it. I’m not even sure how you got that pic of my arm. The only thing you don’t seem to like about mine is… that you didn’t know anything about it.

  43. Hey want to get a tattoo written in arabic so bad but I don’t have any arabic speaking friends. If you can please tell me the translation and script for “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Thank you.

  44. i would like to have lost warrior in hazara in caligraphy. And if possible i would also like to have Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions in hazara as well

  45. hi i want to get a lovely arabic tatoo but i want to do it right so im asking for your advice on how it would look… 😛 i would like princess or sarah. can anyone help please? 😛 much appreciated x

  46. hi ! i wanna have an arabic tattoo as well that’s why I’m here, haha.. i already have a sample . its my name . i hope i can send it through e-mail . pls help? i need it A.S.A.P.

  47. hii!i would like to get the word beautiful…can you help me?id really appreciate it..

  48. i work for a language service provider and when i found out a relative of mine wanted a tattoo in Arabic, i made them give me the ‘translations’ they found so that a translation team could confirm. turns out 3/5 words they received on google translate were correct. i was surprised. thanks for this post. there is so much about culture and language that people are too lazy to understand.

  49. how would “queen” look connected? can you send it to me…if thats possible?

  50. Hey,

    This is a very interesting and informative post. I have written a piece on how to identify common Arabic tattoo mistakes which may be of interest:

  51. Hello how can I contact you? I have an Arabic tattoo that I would like for you to look at. It was written for me by a friend whom speaks Arabic but some other Arabic speakers have told me that it doesn’t say what I think it does. I would really appreciate a few minutes of your time.

  52. Love ur post. It really opened my eyes. I want to get an Arabic tattoo. I want to tattoo my daughters name on my back. I have no clue as to how it’s writen and there’s no native speaking arabs were I live. So I’m kinda stuck. Hopefully you can help me out. (sorry for the bad grammar)

    have a good day!

  53. Thanks for this post. The examples are both hilarious and pathetic. I read both Chinese and Arabic, and am shocked at how willing people are to trust blindly when it comes to something so irrevocable. I am interested in getting an Arabic tattoo on my forearm of the famous words of Mansur al-Hallaj, “ana’l-Haqq.” I am attracted to a Diwani style of calligraphy. Do you think you can help me out with this?

  54. Btw, the problem with all of these unconnected Arabic letters is surely the product of Microsoft word, which after 1998, for some reason, stopped supporting right to left scripts. Is there anything we, as an interested community, can do about THAT?

  55. Hey Josh,

    I was wondering if you could translate something for me. I was interested in getting a tattoo that says love is blind in Arabic.. I have done some research and this is what I have come up with so far: الحب أعمى

    any help would be greatly appreciated.. thank you.

  56. Hey Josh,

    I want to get a tattoo in arabic to celebrate my family’s Lebanese heritage and in rememberance of my sitti. And I was never taught how to write it. I want it to say Love. Could you please help me out? Thanks so much!

  57. im pllanning on gettin a tattoo written in arabic.. but idk what i want it to say yet…but i want to be sure its gunna be correct when i do it.

  58. Hello Josh. My name is Tanaiya and i was wondering if you could help me out by translating a quote for me. Please contact me asap.

  59. hey id like to see what the word assassin in arabic is and its actuall translation.

  60. HI josh,
    I want the word scorpio in Arabic and ive put it through many translators, but i want to know for sure if it is correct, please contact me asap.

    • Merhaba, I was just surfing the web when I came across this site and have been rather amused. Anyway, since nobody else seems to have responded to your post, I thought I’d point out the Arabic word for Scorpio is just al-Aqrab (the Scorpion). Western astrology pretty much originates from Middle Eastern (and especially Arab) traditions.

      Its written like this العقرب but you probably want to find someone who could put it into calligraphy for you.

  61. hi Josh
    I want to get tatoo in Arabic so i was wondering if u could help me?
    pls contact me.

  62. Hello Josh,
    I’m seriously contemplating a tattoo in Arabic, but I live in the very northern part of California and I can’t find a native speaker or calligrapher to help me out. Any help or suggestions please? Thank you!


  64. hey I’m wanting my sons name in arabic, after reading all this its made me a little scared to get what I thought was lidget arabic print on the site, can u tell me if the word “Bailey” in arabic actually says that. Thanks, would really apreciate it as I’m wanting to get it done in a couple of weeks.

  65. Hi there,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I actually know one of the owners of the second picture (the wrist and the hip). The one that you referred to as just “butt ugly” lol. The arm is my dim whit cousin that I haven’t spoken to in ages, nor want to. Our family is from Iraq, so she probably did get someone to write that out for it who knows the language, but she also began stealing her sister’s ID to get tattoos when she was 15, so I don’t know that she’s going to reputable places.

    I’ve been wanting a tattoo for some time in Arabic, but have been deterred for the same reasons that you’ve highlighted. My biggest fear is that what I want to say, won’t translate correctly. I speak and understand Arabic, but do not read or write it which is my dilemma.

    What I want to get in Arabic is : “Where words fail, music speaks”

    Can you let me know if this is the right translation:

    عندما تعجز الكلمات
    الموسيقى يتكلم

    I used a simple translator online, which frankly is what scares me! Sadly, I don’t live near my family, otherwise I would ask them 🙂

    Thanks in advance for your assistance!

  66. Merhaba, I just have to say that I stumbled onto this site by pure chance while surfing the web, and I am suitably amused. I’ve seen quite a few people – both non-Arabs and second and third generation Arab Americans who don’t speak a word of Arabic – getting what I call “fake Arabic” tattoos in recent years. One was a co-worker, actually, who is of Lebanese descent (but does not speak Arabic, though I think her parents do so she should have known better).

    Mind you, almost as much of it comes from bad tattoo parlors too. There are some very reputable shops out there with extremely talented artists; the one my girlfriend frequents falls into that category. But there are also some rather unreputable ones too. I know of one in the Chicago suburbs that actually stole an old Chinese dictionary from the public library because they had so many people wanting Chinese tattoos. I shudder to think of them doing the same with Arabic now too. You should NEVER get a tattoo in a language you can’t speak or read, and doubly so if the tattoo artist doesn’t know what it says. Just looking it up in a dictionary might give you the wrong word or context…

    Of course, I could mention that some of this smacks of cultural appropriation, and that I would be offended, but then, considering that most of the real morons wind up getting things that don’t even vaguely resemble Arabic, I’m more amused. 😀

  67. I would like a tat sayin’ Hailey Marie?
    Can you help me with this?

  68. How would u write butch in araibic

  69. This is amazing. Thank you so much. I’m not sure why people are so offended that you’re trying to give them some hints. Nice work man.

  70. I have a tat that I need done, I have two in arabic already, 3rd one is going on my forearm it has to say youssef and it has to be in calligraphy it’s the name of my grandfather who passed away on my birthday when I was 13 in lebanon and it’ll be the name of my son soon. if there is anyone who can do something beautiful for me please email me at


  71. Oh dear, dear me. Emirah! I do feel terribly sorry for some of these guys. Very, very foolish of them to not check the spelling, meaning, conjunction and form of the letters. There’s some pretty sad stuff there. Imagine how baffled the locals would be if these people went to the M-E. There would be embarrassment all round I should think.

  72. Hello,
    Could you please translate the following words in arabic please?
    Thanks, Sameya!

  73. There should be more websites like this actual examples of disasters. I know I’ve wanted to get a tattoo in arabic but I just do not know how to get the quality calliagraphy on paper. Any ideas?

  74. Can somebody tell where to get arabic tattoo in San Francisco. Thanks.

  75. wow.

    ha….first of all I am really astonished at what people decide to blog about. Taking bits and pieces of what make up the country we live in and analyzing it down to the finest details…..

    The last ‘hipster’ idiot pictured on this site is me. But I’m no hipster, dont want to be, never have been. But thanks for trying with that one…..

    First of all, the whole point behind this tattoo wasnt to fit in anywhere, win a cool contest, be obscure or to educate anyone of anything or anyone. And unbeknownst to the dude running this blog, I didnt get it because I’m some hipster that knows nothing but of what is new and fresh. I got the tattoo represent a part of my childhood that I think of everyday and cherish. When I was a kid I got the opportunity to live in Saudi Arabia for several years with my family. I learned alot there, and saw so many different people and ideas. It shaped me into who I am today…and thanks to that little bit of culture I was able to survive growing up in the fucking midwest and get through the intolerance. Why? because I knew there were other places out there. Period.

    I got the tattoo when I was barely 21 with a great desire to capture a little of those times that I lived overseas. It is very very difficult to find someone that can accurately translate this language, and then write it for you. Not to mention I know that it isnt exactly looked upon highly to use Arabic in body modification…so that would be why I didnt go out stalking people with this skill- it was a respect thing.

    Sorry that the tattoo is backwards, chopped, screwed, fucked, and making this bloggers eyes bleed. In all honesty I dont even know where this picture came from ( internet is amazing).

    But just as I should have probably tried a little harder and did a little more research…dude, do your research on people that you dont know. Meaning…..just because you know someone did something wrong doesnt give you a golden ticket to judge people you dont know. Do something else with your time other than tearing people apart….if you can write and design arabic better do people a favor and help them out so that they arent tempted to do it themselves.

    so sorry to whomever is really disrespected and utterly disgusted with the inaccuracy. I was simply seeking a little reminder of a very awesome moment in my life…..nothing more or less.

  76. hey can you help me i want to get a tatto..can you tell me how to do you write…IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING…in arab thanks..

  77. Haha brilliant!

  78. So funny, many of the comments here – they don’t get your point, I guess, when asking you to translate some ‘deep words’ for them without knowing the language themselves. Just because they want to have an ‘exotic’ tattoo on their ‘very normal’ bodies. Hell, just get your tattoos in English. Why, for God’s sake, do you need an Arabic tattoo. Ya satir, Allahu alim….

  79. This is absolutely hilarious and jaw-droppingly horrific! A dive instructor from the UK showed me a tattoo he’d recently had done, boasting he knew Arabic..symbols that don’t even exist were in it (and they weren’t Persian letters)! I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

  80. Assalamu alaikum brotha, I came across your site om search for an arabic translation for a tatoo I want to get. In response to the former reply, I’m latino and want to get FAITH- ALL’IMAN tatooed, not because is exotic but for aesthetic reasons, I love art and think arabic calligraphy is beautiful. I also want to get it in a foreign langauge so other’s don’t know what it says, for it is a symbol of my personal FAITH in the unseen and myelf. You might find this contradictory but I also plan on getting LOVE tatooed in hebrew, some will thinks is ridiculous having a hebrew tatoo and arabic tatoo next to each other, however, my philosophy transcends that and encompasses all. My request to you is for a personal unique template of FAITH in arabic. I know it is time consuming therefore let me know a price. Peace out brotha.

  81. This post made me laugh hysterically. No, it’s not arrogant, it’s true. If non-Arabic speakers want Arabic tattooed on their bodies, they ought to ask a speaker of the language. What’s so hard about that? Most of us worked damn hard to learn the language.

  82. Oh my god, I think I love you. I want an Arabic tattoo like whoa, but I’m not stupid enough to type some cheap inspirational word or phrase into Google Translate and expect that it’ll turn out right. Anybody with any foreign language experience at all, or an ounce of common sense would realize: ENGLISH AND ARABIC ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. I don’t know any Arabic (give me a break…it’s on my list of things-to-do) but since the languages are so different, I assume many phrases translate in approximate meaning and again…Google Translate is *not* the place to go for tattoos. Gah.

    You’re so right though. To everyone with permanent proof that you’re a moron: I feel bad for you…but you’re a fucking idiot.

  83. @arcanum…. i do not find it contradictory at all. two tattoos i’ve been considering for quite some time is faith in hebrew on one wrist [although i’m non-religious, i believe one can find faith elsewhere…and faith can be a beautiful thing] and peace in arabic on another. the two are not mutually exclusive, and i will never stop believing that.

  84. the piece de resistance isn’t as bad as the rest…at least MOST of the letters are in the right order. the funniest one is al um al kubra.

  85. you’re totally right, the one done by a calligrapher looks *way* better…but how does one go about finding a calligrapher in a 97% WASP community, pray tell?

  86. JOSH!!!!
    would it be too much to ask for you to examine a translation for me??

  87. really good post 😀

  88. Amen to the whole bloody article!
    And @arcanum, I also see nothing contradictory with your combination. Arabic and Hebrew are very closely related etymologically, and there’re more similarities between the customs of our peoples than a lot like to think… I think it’s lovely to have that connection illustrated.

  89. I really enjoyed your site. I’m getting a tattoo tomorrow I printer it from a website translator. Is it possible for you to write is for me so I can do a comparrison. It’s suppose to say love lives forever. You can email it to me @ i’d really appreciate it if you responded. thank you

  90. Dude these tattoos are fake , and the stupid designer didnt know that he should install the windows arabic language pack so the letters shows up connected the right way , also , almost each one of these tattoos seems to be fresh , red skin effect , plus , almost 80 % od arabs are muslims , tattoos are forbidden in muslims religion , cant u guys see that these are a fake pics ?

    • Theyre not fake pics numbskull, theyre just misinformed people.
      What makes you think you need to be Muslim to get an Arabic tattoo? And the fact that they are red shows that the photo was taken when the tat was fresh.
      Also, did you even read the post, I discuss exactly why the tattoo becomes so jumbled because of the lack of the Arabic service pack.

  91. just saw this one on an antm re-run… i assume she wanted peace السلام … pretty dumb considering you can just google “salaam” and find the correct arabic spelling…

    • I saw that, except in giant letters taking up a dude’s entire forearm. I feel bad for them more than anything else.

  92. Totally agreed! They are not fake pics, they are misinformed people!!!

  93. Hi so I want to get a tattoo of almost a full story that is going to wrap around my whole body. Ive looked into getting it translated into arabic because of what it would mean to me if it was in arabic instead of english. well anyway its absolutely impossible to find a website that can translate a whole story into another language with it being grammatically correct. so ive tried finding arabic speakers in my area that could possibly help me which has turned out to be almost just as difficult. I came across your website absolutely fascinated with the fact that you are letting people know that if a translation is done wrong then the whole tattoo is destroyed as well as the meaning behind it. which is exactly what i dont want to do. So i was wondering if you would be willing to help me translate the story that i want to get tattooed on me… this is my email address if your interested in helping me out:

    thank you for your time.


  94. I love this post. I recently found a local literary magazine that had “Arabic” as part of the design on the cover. I emailed them to tell them their design program obviously didn’t support Arabic (since the spellings were backwards and the letters were disconnected), and that it might be worth checking with native speakers in the future if they want to use a foreign language.

    They emailed me back and said that it was backwards on purpose. They said it was a design element!!!

    You tell me:

    (you can’s see the full cover online, but you see a bit of it on the left.)

    So irritating!

  95. Dude in my neighborhood wanted his name(Adam) tattoued in Arabic, instead the tattoo artist actually tattooed “Sharmout”(male slut).Poor fellow,it’s right visible in his neck too,kills me everytime i see it.He doesn’t even know it yet XD.

  96. how do you say “out of sight out of mind” in arabic?

  97. ohhhhh dude this is amazing! I found this while I was just surfing and omg the idiocy of some of these tats!! Made me howl with laughter! As someone who can speak, read and write arabic I found this so fucking amazing. Ohhhh man, some people are such dumb and gullible fucks hahaaahaa! There is nothing more amusing to me than tattoo fuck ups especially ones that involve languages not related to the person with the tat. Oh, brilliant stuff. You have utterly and completely made my day. Nice work 😀

  98. Hey i wanted to get a tatto of my brothers name but all i get on the computer is
    كارلوس ريفيرا
    And i doubt thats right can you please tell me what does that even say before i tell you his name…

  99. This is a fantastic post. Thank you for sharing your insights. It always interests me when people want a tattoo in a language or script to which they have no connection in their life…Makes you ponder the reasons why. This goes equally for the ever-popular Chinese and Japanese character tattoos…So many questions.

    So, (hypothetically speaking) you don’t speak the language…Fine. But you don’t have any connection to the culture, know anyone who does, and don’t have any interest in befriending or reaching out to someone who does who could help you…

    If someone loves the script so much that they want it *engraved* on their body forever, it seems reasonable to expect them to have done some real research on it before going ahead.

    I’m not saying everyone who wants a tattoo in Arabic needs to be an Arabic scholar, although that would be nice : ) , just that anyone with the most basic exposure to Arabic script or interest in the language can see the error of making words out of unconnected letters or putting te marbuta at the beginning of a word…

    The idea behind body art, and the reasons why people choose to put certain imagery or text on their body is so fascinating. I’m a henna artist, so I deal with a much less permanent form of marking the body, but I still come across many of the same questions regarding our reasons for wanting to alter our appearance…

    Kindof a rambling response, great website! Thanks, Liz

  100. Love this, and the main reason why I haven’t tattooed myself yet. I want to tattoo my names in my forearms, maybe you can help me out with it. I would really appreciate it!
    Thanks a lot. 🙂


  101. […] Pierde romanticismo, sin duda (a no ser que seas un/a choni y te lo tatúes sin dudarlo) […]

  102. Ii unfortunately fell victim to this, ever since i got my tattoo i thought it was special and meant something very important to me. Until i realized it was spelled wrong! Can you help me out?

  103. How do you write sweetheart and how do you write forbidden love in Arabic?

  104. Look my Microsoft document maker has a font called “Arabic Typesetting” is that legitimate?

  105. Can you please show me ( Samir ) & ( Abdul-Wahid )

  106. This was just too funny. Thanks for the post. I live in Qatar and have seen my share of them as well

  107. Great post, thank god I read this; it provided a gret insight and entertainment at the same time.
    Doin research for just one word I want in Arabic, I guess I’ll have to keep looking more carefully!

  108. […] | Arabic …Where can I find the arabic word for friends for a tattoo? – Yahoo …Awful Arabic Tattoos « Nomad Out of TimeBBC News – Malaysia cancels Erykah Badu show over ‘Allah tattoos‘Oh No They […]

  109. what does the one at the end mean in english? the one you posted in writing and calligraphy?

  110. Hi could you please translate for me Psalm 23:4 from the Bible? I looked at an actual Arabic bible and compared it to a translation I found on the internet but I’m wondering if it could be improved up by the calligraphy writing. I also checked with my Arabic-speaking friend who confirmed that it made sense but I would like it to be more stylized.

  111. Would you write the Arabic word for “kindness” in a script I could use for a tattoo? I know ‘Latif’ means kind, but is that only when associated with a boy’s name, like Abdullatif? or is it also used for the term ‘kindness’? Thank you very much, and best regards – you’ve got an awesome site here 🙂

    • Lmao this made laugh immensely..
      Specially because I have a tattoo on my wrist in Arabic that’s pretty far off to what it’s supposed to say..its supposed to say I love you Jay and according to some doctors at work it says why do I love you … in ur opinion i might be a moron but i dont care at the end of the day I know with the purpose and meaning I went to get it done with…I don’t regret it…

  112. Haha,

    I’ve been wanting a tattoo in Arabic writing for quite some time now I just don’t trust any of these translating sites especially not after seeing this! I would hate walking around like a a complete fool. So you are right about consulting with a native speaker first that’s why I would like to ask you if you have the time translate a few quotes for me! Please and Thank you.

  113. Here’s another one from Australia’s cricket captain Michael Clarke

  114. The butt-crack photo is actually disconnected Farsi. It says something like “An animal’s fate. A life or a spirit.” Doesn’t make too much sense anyway.

  115. The 2nd tattoo in this article ( is a passage from the Qur’an. There is an error in its spelling, namely that there should be a hamzat wasl for the alif-lam al-ta`riif (definite article) in al-`usr. Instead, the tattoo artist mistakenly added a second laam. But I think the blog post’s author’s translation should have been “Indeed, with every difficulty there is ease.” Various translations are available at

    IMO, most Muslims would not like to see a passage of the Quran as a tattoo, so don’t do it with the idea that you are advancing interfaith understanding.

  116. Hi can you do these for me in caligraphy

    حبيبي حياتي عمري تيمي


    حبيبي حياتي عمري رازي

    Many thanx


  117. hi I’m looking to get an Arabic tattoo of the name Samantha and Fraser. Could you translate them and do it in calligrgaphy?
    Kind regards

  118. Hi there. I’ve been doing endless research on this translation. I’m wondering if this: افا ميلّي آدْم الأسد translates to Ava Millie Adam Leo (Lion). Thanks so much 🙂

  119. مضحك و مثير للشفقة في نفس الوقت…عليهم تعلم اللغة العربية اولا…

  120. I wnt psalm 23 in arabic

  121. I suppose if I were one of the unfortunate souls who had one of those garbled, mangled, unconnected, unintelligible, and/or meaningless “Arabic” tattoos, I might get defensive as well – after all, I’d be stuck with that thing pretty much permanently on (or in, really) my body. Snarkiness aside though, I think the blogger’s point is that people should have an idea of what they’re having tattooed. God only knows what Chinese, Japanese, or other characters people get etched onto themselves.

  122. My best guess for the last tattoo is that it’s some sort of slightly-modified letter “jumble” for صفاء, شجاعة ,مقاومة , but most of those are a total mystery.

  123. […] The saddest thing about the Arabic tattoos is most of them had by the westerners are tragedies. One needs to consult an Arabic language expert before having one on their body. Tattoo is kind of a logo for the personality. It’s like your brand symbol. So select a good Arabic tattoo with the suitable meaning in presence of an Arabic expert. You can also take the help of online language translators if you find it hard to find the Arabic guy. Arabic tattoos look puzzling. Probably this is the strong reason for most of the youth sporting it. But try to have a meaningful one. Please don’t end up as one of these disasters. […]

  124. […] tattoos on our bodies in Chinese characters (Check out some epic failures here) or Arabic (failures here) without fully recognizing their beauty and purpose and the subtle nuances that create new […]

  125. I have contacted to before but i guess I’ll try again. My tattoo is the 4th one down and it’s been up for like 6 years now. It’s spelled correctly, right grammatically, I speak Arabic and the mosaic is amazingly well done. And yet somehow it’s on your list of awful arabic tattoos because you don’t agree with the placement?? I’d really appreciate it if you took it down and found something else because I don’t believe my tattoo (that gets compliments all day long) deserves this place of honor on your wall of worst arabic tattoos… Thank you and please take down my picture.

  126. Never get a tattoo if you don’t understand 100% what it says and in this case how its written!

  127. Here is another terrible tattoo:

  128. Hahaha! I loved this. I actually have a calligraphy Arabic tattoo that I designed myself. I actually took Arabic for a number of years (HS and Uni) and have actually been to Egypt (so I’m safe). That being said, I love when I see someone with an “Arabic” tattoo that is either (as you mentioned) not connected properly and/or says something that makes absolutely no sense (i.e. gibberish), or phonetic transliterations.

    Rule of thumb: if you don’t know the language, then why are you getting a tattoo of it? (example: Chinese characters)

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