The Rise of the Tattoo

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology of tattoo as, “In 18th c. tattaow, tattow. From Polynesian tatau. In Tahitian, tatu.” The word tatau was introduced as a loan word into English; its spelling was changed over time from the “tattow” seen in late 18th century writing to the modern “tattoo” and its pronunciation was changed to conform to English phonology. Read more