The semicolon tattoo, very fashionable, represents a new beginning: here is its origin and meaning

The semicolon is the latest fashion in terms of tattoos: from the big ones on the nape to the almost invisible ones on the inside of the finger, up to the classic wrist, it’s an increasingly widespread tattoo. But behind what seems like a fashion like many others, a deeper meaning is hidden.

The tattoo in Thirteen

The semicolon tattoo has become universally known thanks to the TV series Netflix Tredici, thanks to which the themes of suicide and bullying among adolescents are back on top.

In the first episode of the second season Clay (Dylan Minnette), still tried by all the vicissitudes experienced by the death of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) decides to get a new tattoo: a semicolon. The choice is anything but random, since the semicolon is the symbol of the beginning of a new life and is often linked to the topic of suicide.

Also Selena Gomez, executive producer of the series, and other cast members including Alisha Boe (Jessica) and Tommy Dorfman (Ryan), have tattooed a small semicolon on their left wrists, symbol of new beginning and prevention of suicide, just in honor of the character of Hannah Baker.

The meaning

In grammar, the semicolon is used to close a sentence that is the expression of a certain concept, but which is part of the general idea contained in the period in which the sentence is itself part.

Tattooing it on the skin means opening up to new hope, continuing a discourse that has already begun following a new path, bearing on its body a clear testimony to the fact of having fought, and won, against anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Tattooing a semicolon means putting a point to what you thought before, but still going ahead because there is always something worth living for. These tattoos therefore want to be a way to encourage sufferers to struggle to find a way out.

They serve to make all the people suffering from depression understand that they are not alone, that struggling can overcome obstacles and continue to write their story. The semicolon tattoo means that the speech is not yet closed, that it is not yet time to interrupt one’s own story.


The semicolon was chosen as a symbol by the non-profit organization Project Semicolon, established in 2013 to give hope to those who fight reactive depression or suicidal instincts, self-harm or addiction.

The project, born in the USA from an idea by Amy Bleuel to commemorate his dead suicidal father, became popular after the American tattoo artist Deidre Zinn published the image of a semicolon tattoo on social media.

When many other people started to support the movement by publishing on the social media photos of tattoos representing the semicolon, the phenomenon attracted the attention of the main US and world newspapers, thus achieving notoriety.


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