10+ Wishbone Tattoo Meaning & Designs – Why is it Lucky?

Wishbones are considered a good luck symbol in the Western world and are undoubtedly a choice for many people when it comes to tattooing. What these wishing bones represent are stretched beyond their meaning in the game on Thanksgiving. So, what’s the meaning behind this symbol? 

We’ll break down on wishbone tattoo meaning so you can decide yourself whether it’s a good fit to get inked on your skin. 

What Is A Wishbone? 

The wishbone is an oddly-shaped forked bone that fuses two clavicles called the furcula. It’s located between the bird’s neck and breast.

This bone is of utmost importance for the flight mechanics of the bird. Specifically, it acts like a spring that retains and releases the energy generated by the bird’s flapping when it wants to fly. 

In American culture, the wishbone is used in the game for Thanksgiving. The bone is typically removed before the feast and left to dry for three days for the game. 

A Brief History Of Wishbone Symbols

Breaking the Thanksgiving wishbone: A history

Most people know the wishbone through the game of breaking the Thanksgiving wishbone. However, the wishbone is initially not meant for the game at all. 

The wishbone boasts a much more ancient origin than you might have expected. It all started thousands of years ago in the rich civilization of Etruscan

People of this civilization used birds as oracles to have a look into the future. Usually, when the chickens were slaughtered, they kept the “furcula”, the wishbone under the sun, to preserve its oracle power even after death. 

People would make a wish while stroking the bone, and thus the name “wishbone”. This wish was often not only for their interests but also for the entire Etruscan community.

The Romans are the next civilization to practice bird divination, but with slight deviations from Etruscan. 

Instead of laying the bone on the ground to make a wish, two Romans grapple over the bone until it is broken. The victor is the one who holds the larger part and is then granted a wish. The reason behind this practice is the scarcity of chicken bones in the area.

Celebrating The Wishbone

This cultural tradition soon traveled to England and later America. In the 17th century, the Britons used wishbone to predict marriage. 

The wishbone is broken by two women, just like the Romans do. The person who held the longer piece is thought to get married first. The use of wishbone as a source of divination soon made its way to the new world of America via pilgrims at the Plymouth Rock

Wishbone Tattoo Meaning

Wishbone Tattoo: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Wishbones are known for their magical wishing power in many cultures. They are one of the most common choices for those wanting a good luck charm inked on their body. 

Wishbones tattoo meaning can be interpreted in a few different ways but usually represent the optimism and wishful thinking of the wishers. 

Usually, wishbone tattoos show hope for the future, good fortune, untapped potential, a new chapter in people’s lives. There are also many creative designs of wishbone tattoos that you will be proud to show off with others. 

There are a few different meanings of wishbone across cultures. In Greek, for example, these pronged bones symbolize everlasting love and are often used in weddings and engagements. 

On the other hand, some cultures consider wishbones as a symbol of forgetting about past mistakes and embarking on a new phase/chapter of life. 

Gifts that bear the image of wishbones are also common for graduation or birthdays. It is because people believe that if you break the bone, you are free of evils and sinister forces that have affected your lives before.  

A somewhat negative interpretation of wishbones is the broken heart. The bone autonomy resembles the shape of the heart, and when there are strong feelings, the image looks like cracking under the movements of the skin. This can serve as a reminder of how love can break someone’s heart. 

Wishbone Tattoo Design Ideas 

Broken wishbone tattoo

While a traditional wishbone tattoo is a great design, you might want to get more creative by adding small cracks or displacement on the pronged bone. Just like a tattoo with wishbones that are not broken, you can use black and white ink or any shade you love for broken wishbone tattoos. 

Broken Wishbone Tattoo

Wishful hands tattoo

Wishful hands is another idea if you want to have an image of wishbones on your skin. This design is often inked in medium size and accompanied by two hands at two sides of the wishbones. 

Wishful Hands Tattoo

The hands act like they are ready to snap the pronged bones; that’s what the ancient people did to be granted a wish. With this type of tattoo, you can choose which hand will be the victor. 

Wishbone Tattoo Placement

Thanks to the symmetry of a wishbone tattoo, it looks stunning on the back of your neck, chest, spine, forearms, and apex between knuckles.

Wishbone Tattoo On Neck
Dotwork Wishbone Tattoo On Neck

Small-sized, simple wishbone tattoos can fit well in any spot and sit harmoniously with other tattoos pretty well. This size makes great tattoos on the wrist or thumb.

A Wishbone Tattoo On Thumb

While wishbone is not a common choice for couples, it’s still fine for you and your partner to get a similar wishbone tattoo. 

This tattoo often means hope for the future and cooperation between you two. It is also a way to show devotion in a relationship without tattooing the names on your body. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to get the image inked on the wrists or forearms.

Wishbone tattoo on the left hand

wishbone tattoo 2



Pulling wishbone is a time-honored tradition that indicates fun competition on Thanksgiving. 

However, long before this tradition, wishbones were regarded as oracles and gave you a peek into the future. So, depending on your interpretation, wishbones in tattoos generally represent hope in the future and wishful thinking of the bearers. 

After understanding wishbone tattoo meaning, we hope you can decide if you’re keen on getting one inked on your body.

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