If you’re a tattoo artist or someone considering getting a tattoo while abroad, it’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with specific words to discuss piercings and tattoos in English.

Presently, numerous tattoo artists travel and spend a month or two working in tattoo parlors in different countries.

Likewise, many travelers like to commemorate their time in a foreign country by getting a tattoo. They visit a local tattoo parlor and get inked by an artist from that region.

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A History of Tattoos

The tradition of tattoos traces its roots back to ancient times. I encourage you to watch this captivating video in English (with Russian subtitles), where you’ll discover the historical origins of adorning the body with images and learn why they are referred to as “tattoos.”

In a Tattoo Parlor: English Words

Now, let’s explore some terms essential for your visit to a tattoo studio.

Initially, let’s go over the required equipment and items that a tattoo artist utilizes:


  •         The Works 
  •         Tattoo machine 
  •        Rubber gloves
  •         A roll of paper towels
  •         Disinfectant
  •         Lotion/goo
  •         Tattoo artist’s chair

The Process of Applying a Tattoo

  • Preparing for a tattoo: This involves the tattoo artist readying their tools and the specific area of the body where the tattoo will be placed.
  • Applying a stencil: A sketch of the design is transferred to the skin using special paper.
  • Providing instructions: The artist gives guidance on how to care for the tattoo.
  • Kickin’ it into third: This is a slang term indicating that the tattoo application is in progress.
  • Healing: The skin needs time to recover after the tattoo is applied.

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Types of Piercings in English

Now, let’s shift our focus to the topic of piercings. A “piercing” refers to a small opening in a body part created to insert jewelry. The jewelry is worn for adornment or to convey a specific belief. While ear piercings are widespread, it has become increasingly popular to pierce various other parts of the body.

Here are some specific terms associated with piercings:<

Ear piercing: Creating an opening in a section of the ear for jewelry.

Oral piercing: Piercing of the lip, tongue, or around the mouth (e.g., “Monroe” – piercing above the left side of the lip; “Madonna” – piercing the upper left side of the lip; “Medusa” – piercing the indentation slightly above the center of the upper lip).

Nose piercing: Piercing different parts of the nose.

Surface piercing: Piercing various sections of the skin on the body.

You can learn about other forms of piercings in the following video.

That concludes our discussion, dear friends!

If you plan to undergo tattooing or piercing, ensure you choose only a skilled professional and carefully contemplate your decision. Otherwise, you may find yourself undergoing the challenging and costly process of tattoo or piercing removal, which is neither painless nor budget-friendly.

What is your English level?

Find out your A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 level of English with our quick, free online test.