90 Meaningful Cross Tattoo Ideas For Men – A Timeless Spiritual Classic

Easily one of the most highly recognizable symbols in the world is the cross. Now while it is chiefly recognized as a Christian symbol, it also has other meanings. The ankh, for example, a cross with a loop at the top, is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph which represents the life which predates the Christian cross. The Iron Cross, once given as a German military decoration, is now used in tattoo art to symbolize rebellion and non-conformity. There are a number of reasons other than spirituality that someone may choose a cross tattoo.

People who are Christians regard the cross as one of their most sacred symbols. In the time of Christ (who they believe to be the son of God), Romans used crucifixion as a form of punishment. They crucified Christ for his beliefs and he died on the cross. Christians consider this as his sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Although he died on the cross, he was resurrected three days later. Accordingly, as a symbol of their faith devoted Christians wear crosses around the neck and they are used in churches all over the world. People who are spiritual may also want to show this side of them in their tattoo artwork.


The Meaning of Cross Tattoos for Men

The cross usually has a deep spiritual meaning for the man who chooses it for one of his tattoos. These are some of the meanings commonly associated with a cross tattoo:

Strength and Courage: The cross is symbolic of Christ’s strength and the courage he demonstrated when he was persecuted and put to death. It can be used as a reminder to remain steadfast during times of crisis.

Christianity/Christian faith: Tattoo lovers may choose this symbol to represent and celebrate their spiritual beliefs.

In Memory of a loved one: Tattoos can be used a form of remembrance. Some people choose to have the name of a loved one in a tattoo and often these tattoos include crosses. This is because crosses are often used to mark graves and as decoration on tombstones.

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Commonly Associated Designs

Tattoos that include crosses with often have other similar subjects in the design. These include images of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary (who was the mother of Jesus), prayers, or quotations from the Bible, doves which represent the Holy Spirit as well as peace and tranquility, hearts, praying hands, and angel wings. Roses are common as well, for both men and women, as are crowns of thorns (symbolic of the one Jesus wore when crucified).

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Different Cross Tattoo Designs For Men

Christian / Catholic

The T-shaped Christian cross can be used for any number of designs; anything from plain outlines to shaded and colored pieces. These can be plain or include other similar subjects, and represent Christian spiritual beliefs. Popular choices include wooden and patterned crosses. This type of tattoo may include the image of Christ nailed to the cross.

Celtic / Irish

One of the most striking and popular designs is the patterned Celtic cross, perfect for anyone with a Celtic heritage and is also a Christian. These designs include the recognizable knot work of patterns and loops and can include traditional black, gold and green color or in done with black with line work and shading. The knots in the design are symbolic of the link between the spiritual and physical world while the loops represent the circular nature of life.


Tribal tattoos have been used for centuries as a representation of maturity and courage. A tribal cross design looks amazing with its strong, solid features and it is a masculine design choice.

Iron Cross

Each segment of the iron cross is the same size, which makes it different from the Christian symbol. This cross was made famous when it was used a German military medal for bravery. In today’s society, the cross is viewed as a symbol of rebellion against accepted societal norms. Tattoos like this have a darker message and accordingly they don’t include color.


While the Ankh or Egyptian cross, is popular mainly among women, it is increasing being chosen by men as well for tattoo designs. It is seen as a symbol of male and female unity so it’s a good choice for matching couples tattoos. It’s also seen to represent wisdom and eternity and is a good choice for anyone who has an Egyptian heritage or is drawn to this culture on a spiritual level.

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Size and Placement Ideas For Cross Tattoos

One of the main advantages of this tattoo is that it can be used for everything from a micro tattoo all the way up to a full back piece. The design can be as simple as a two crossed lines all the way up to detailed lifelike designs. The size you choose is completely up to you and what suits you the best.

Small designs can be placed behind the ear, on the hands, and even the fingers while medium crosses look good on the wrists, forearms, ankles, legs, chest, and shoulders. If you want to go bigger consider using your ribs, back, thigh, or upper arm as your canvas.

If you are a spiritual person looking for the perfect tattoo to represent your beliefs, then cross is definitely for you. It’s such a simple design, but it’s rich with symbolism and meaning. If you are looking for a tattoo that conveys your dedication to a non-conformist life you could consider the iron cross or if you want a tattoo you could share with your girlfriend or wife you could look at the Ankh.

You could choose just about any size for this tattoo depending on what kind of design you have in mind. If it’s your first time or you just want something small then a small simple cross on your hand could work, but if you have a more elaborate design in mind then you’ll probably want to go a little bigger. This is a personal tattoo and should be a representation of yourself, so choose whatever you feel is right for you. Cross tattoos for men are not a fad, they are timeless tattoos that will always look good.

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