Wings are one of the only parts of an animal that is commonly tattooed without the rest of the animal present!
Wings are generally used to add meaning to another tattoo by adding a wing each side of whatever the design is. For example the winged heart tattoo is a popular one, I have also seen wings added to hour glasses or pocket watches to symbolize the fact that “time flies”.
Now of course there is a lot of different types of wing, bird wings, bat wings, angel wings, butterfly wings, the list goes on. All of the different types of wing have some common symbolism.
Any type of wing can represent freedom, because of course, if you can fly you are far freer to travel wherever and whenever you want.
Wings also represent flight so can be used, as I mentioned earlier, to bring meaning to another tattoo such as the “time flies” example.
Wings are also a symbol of messengers. This is because of the way birds have been used to carry messages throughout history, but also because of the way ancient civilizations associated birds with being messengers of the gods.
Because of the messenger association, if you would like to add further meaning to your tattoo if it relates to receiving news be it good or bad or any other kind of message then wings are a great way to do this.
Wings are also symbolic of swiftness and speed as birds are able to cover great distances at surprising speeds but are also able to navigate in small spaces such as branches and bushes quickly and easily.