What Does a Teardrop Symbolize? Discover its Meaning and Significance

Have you ever noticed the teardrop symbol popping up in various aspects of life – from tattoos to jewelry and even in literature? This small, simple icon carries massive emotional weight and symbolizes a multitude of human experiences.

Teardrops are undoubtedly linked to sadness and grief, representing an overflow of tears that can no longer be contained. The icon is often used to commemorate the loss of loved ones, whether it be a permanent tattoo or a temporary emblem for remembrance. However, teardrops also symbolize moments of joy and relief. Tears can be an emotional release – a physical representation of the washing away of pain, creating space for new experiences and emotions.

The teardrop icon is not limited to the grieving process but represents personal growth and transformation. As human beings, we experience a range of emotions throughout our lives. The next time you come across a teardrop symbol, take a moment to reflect on its meaning and its significance to your current journey. Remember that tears are not only a symbol of sorrow, but also a symbol of strength and resilience.

The Psychological Significance of Crying

Crying is a universal human phenomenon that occurs throughout our lives. It is a display of strong emotions and, at times, an uncontrollable response to what we are feeling. Crying can signify both joy and sorrow, and it can be a powerful communicative tool to convey our feelings to others. However, have you ever wondered what is the psychological significance of crying? What does crying signify? Let’s find out.

The Physical Benefits of Crying

  • Crying can help reduce stress and tension by releasing emotions and toxins from our bodies. By shedding tears, we can expel stress hormones and other chemicals that accumulate in our body.
  • It can also improve our mood and make us feel better. After crying, we often feel a sense of relief and calmness, which can help us cope with difficult situations. Crying can release endorphins that make us feel better.
  • Crying can help us communicate our emotions to others. It can be a way of showing vulnerability and seeking comfort from others. It can also help resolve conflicts and bring people closer together.

The Social and Cultural Significance of Crying

The way we perceive and react to crying is influenced by social and cultural norms. In some cultures, crying is seen as a sign of weakness and is discouraged. In others, it is seen as a natural and healthy response to emotions. Society tends to isolate and deemphasize public displays of emotion, creating a stigma around crying. This stigma can cause individuals to suppress their emotions, leading to further negative consequences.

However, research shows that crying can be a healthy response that promotes emotional regulation and expression. It is healthy to cry when we feel overwhelmed, and it is essential to allow ourselves to express our emotions rather than bottle them up. Crying can also be a way of connecting with others and creating social bonds.

The Different Types of Tears

Not all tears are equal, and different types of tears can signify different emotions. There are three types of tears: basal, reflex, and emotional. Basal tears are continuously produced by the eyes to keep them lubricated. Reflex tears are produced in response to an irritant, such as dust, smoke, or onions. Emotional tears are produced in response to strong emotions such as sadness, joy, or frustration. Emotional tears contain higher levels of stress hormones and toxins, which make them different from other types of tears.

Type of Tears Source Purpose
Basal Eyes Protects and lubricates eyes
Reflex Eyes Clears irritants from the eyes
Emotional Brain Release of emotions and toxins from the body

In conclusion, crying is a natural and healthy response to emotions. It can help us release stress hormones and toxins from our bodies, improve our mood and well-being, and connect with others. The society’s stigma surrounding crying is counterproductive and can lead to emotional suppression, which can have severe consequences. Therefore, let us embrace our emotions and allow ourselves to cry when we need to.

The historical origins of the teardrop symbol

The teardrop symbol has a deep-rooted history and has been used for various purposes over the years. In this section, we will take a closer look at the historical origins of this symbol:

  • The Aztecs: The Aztecs used the teardrop symbol to represent sacrifice and death. It was often depicted with blood flowing from it, signifying the shedding of blood during sacrificial rituals.
  • The Catholic Church: In Christianity, the teardrop symbol is commonly associated with the Virgin Mary’s tears. It represents the sorrow and grief that Mary felt when witnessing the crucifixion of her son, Jesus Christ.
  • The Holocaust: During the Holocaust, the teardrop symbol was used to represent the suffering and mourning of those who lost their lives in concentration camps. It is often used in Holocaust memorials and has become a symbol of remembrance and mourning for the victims.

While the teardrop symbol has been used in various cultures and contexts, it often signifies grief, sorrow, and sacrifice. However, it can also represent strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the other meanings and interpretations associated with the teardrop symbol:

Meaning Interpretation
Sorrow The teardrop symbol is often associated with sorrow and grief, representing the pain of loss and suffering.
Pain The teardrop can also indicate physical or emotional pain, representing the difficulties and challenges that one has faced.
Strength The teardrop can also symbolize strength and resilience in the face of adversity, representing the ability to overcome challenges and persevere.
Love The teardrop can also represent love and affection, symbolizing the intensity of emotions and depth of feelings.

In conclusion, the teardrop symbol has a rich and diverse history, and its meaning varies depending on the context. Whether it’s representing sorrow, strength, or love, the teardrop symbol has become a powerful way to express deep emotions and experiences.

Different cultural interpretations and meanings of tears

Throughout history, tears have been seen as both a sign of weakness and strength. Tears can express a range of emotions from joy to sadness and have different meanings across various cultures. Here are some interpretations of tears in different cultures:

  • In Native American culture, tears are seen as a form of communication and are believed to be able to carry prayers to the spirit world.
  • In many African cultures, tears are seen as a sign of respect and humility, especially when shown by men.
  • In Japanese culture, emotional expression is often discouraged, but tears are seen as a symbol of strength and courage.

Here is a table outlining the meanings of tears in different cultures:

Culture Meaning of Tears
Native American A form of communication to carry prayers to the spirit world
African A sign of respect and humility, especially when shown by men
Japanese A symbol of strength and courage

In addition to these cultural interpretations, tears can also have personal meaning for each individual. It’s important to recognize and honor our emotions, regardless of cultural or societal norms surrounding tears.

The use of teardrops in art and literature

Throughout history, the teardrop has been a powerful symbol in various forms of art and literature. From religious paintings to modern-day poetry, the teardrop has served as a visual representation of emotions and deep meaning. In this article, we will explore the different ways that teardrops have been portrayed and their significance in art and literature.

Symbolism in Art

In the art world, teardrops have been used to symbolize a range of emotions such as sadness, grief, and joy. The symbol of a teardrop is often depicted in a variety of ways, from realistic to abstract representations. One famous example of teardrop symbolism in art is Salvador Dali’s “The Teardrop Memorial” in New York City, which features a giant teardrop-shaped sculpture in tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

  • Teardrops in Renaissance Art: During the Renaissance, teardrops were a popular symbol in religious paintings. In these artworks, the teardrop was used to symbolize repentance and mourning. One famous painting that incorporates teardrop symbolism is Michelangelo’s “Pieta,” which depicts the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of Jesus.
  • Teardrops in Modern Art: In modern art, teardrops are often used in abstract ways to represent emotions and feelings rather than a realistic depiction of tears. For example, Jackson Pollock’s famous drip paintings often feature tear or droplet-like shapes that represent the artist’s emotions and state of mind.
  • Teardrops in Pop Culture: In pop culture, the teardrop has become a popular symbol in tattoo art. The tattoo is often found under the eye and can symbolize a variety of things, including loss, grief, or even a criminal record, depending on the person wearing it.

Symbolism in Literature

Teardrops have been used in literature in much the same way as in art. They are often used to signify deep emotions and feelings that cannot be explained through words alone. In literature, teardrops can represent love, sadness, grief, or even happiness.

One famous example of teardrop symbolism in literature is John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” where he writes:

“Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.”

In this passage, Keats uses the teardrop as a symbol of sorrow, loneliness, and homesickness. The tears of Ruth in the fields serve as a powerful representation of her emotional state.


As we can see, teardrop symbolism has been used in various forms of art and literature throughout history. Whether in religious paintings, modern art, or poetry, the teardrop serves as a powerful symbol of emotions that cannot always be put into words. By understanding the significance of teardrops in art and literature, we can gain a deeper understanding of the human experience and the emotions that unite us all.

Symbolism Meaning
Teardrops in art Sorrow, grief, joy
Teardrops in literature Sadness, love, happiness
Teardrops in pop culture Loss, grief, criminal record

Table: Summary of Teardrop Symbolism

Symbolism of Teardrops in Religious Contexts

Teardrops have a significant role in religion, representing various emotions such as grief, repentance, and gratitude. The symbolism of teardrops can differ based on the religion or culture they are associated with.

The Number 5

  • In Catholicism, teardrops often symbolize the five wounds of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion.
  • Similarly, in Islam, the five teardrops are associated with the Five Pillars of Islam, which represent the foundation of faith: declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, giving, and pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • In Chinese mythology, the five teardrops represent the five elements: earth, metal, water, wood, and fire.

The Virgin Mary

Teardrops are also often associated with the Virgin Mary in Catholicism. It is said that when Mary wept while witnessing the crucifixion of her son, she shed both tears of deep sorrow and tears of joy for the salvation of mankind. As a result, the image of Mary shedding a single teardrop has become a popular religious art form.

Additionally, the Rosary, an important prayer in Catholicism, is often represented by beads with a teardrop shape, symbolizing the tears of the Virgin Mary.

The Lachrymatory

A lachrymatory is a small vessel used in ancient times to collect tears shed during mourning as a symbol of respect and reverence for the dead. The Romans believed that the tears contained the essence of the person’s soul and would keep them as a memento. These vessels were also used in Christian burials as a reminder of the mourning process.

Religion/Culture Symbolism
Catholicism The five wounds of Jesus Christ
Islam The Five Pillars of Islam
Chinese mythology The five elements

Teardrops in religious contexts hold a significant value for followers of various faiths. Whether it be in the form of art or as a religious symbol, teardrops have a universal appeal and showcase the vastness of different cultures and their unique interpretations.

Teardrops as a symbol of grief and mourning

Throughout history, teardrops have been used as a symbol of grief and mourning. The act of shedding tears is often associated with deep emotional pain and sorrow, and the teardrop has come to represent this intense feeling of loss.

In many cultures, the teardrop has been used as a symbol to express sadness, sorrow, and grief. Artistic representations of teardrops are often associated with mourning, with the droplets of tears representing the ultimate expression of heartache and grief.

  • In ancient Egypt, the goddess Isis was often depicted shedding tears as a symbol of her grief over the loss of her husband Osiris.
  • In Christianity, the Virgin Mary is often depicted shedding a single tear in paintings and sculptures, representing her sorrow at the crucifixion of her son Jesus.
  • In Native American cultures, the teardrop is often seen as an important symbol of grief, with traditional mourning rituals often involving the shedding of tears and the display of teardrop-shaped jewelry.

More recently, the teardrop symbol has been adopted as a symbol of grief and mourning in the context of tragic events and loss. In the wake of mass shootings, natural disasters, and other tragedies, people have used the teardrop symbol to express their sorrow and solidarity with those who have lost loved ones.

Overall, the teardrop is a powerful symbol of grief and mourning that has been used in cultures around the world for thousands of years. Whether as a representation of a personal loss or a wider expression of collective sorrow, the teardrop serves as a poignant reminder of the deep emotional pain that comes with loss.

Culture Meaning of teardrop symbol
Ancient Egypt Symbol of grief over the loss of a loved one
Christianity Symbol of the Virgin Mary’s sorrow at the crucifixion of Jesus
Native American Symbol of grief and mourning in traditional mourning rituals

As individuals, we all experience grief and mourning at some point in our lives. The teardrop can serve as a powerful reminder of the depth of our emotions and the significance of our losses. By acknowledging our grief through symbols like the teardrop, we can better process our emotions and move towards healing.

The Intersection of Teardrops and Mental Health

Teardrops have long been associated with emotions such as sadness, grief, and pain. They are often used to represent times of great sorrow, loss, and overwhelming emotions. But what do teardrops symbolize when it comes to mental health? Here, we explore the intersection of teardrops and mental health, and what they mean for individuals struggling with their mental health.

Number 7: The Seven Stages of Grief

  • Shock and denial
  • Pain and guilt
  • Anger and bargaining
  • Depression, reflection, and loneliness
  • The upward turn
  • Reconstruction and working through
  • Acceptance and hope

One of the most well-known connections between teardrops and mental health is through the seven stages of grief. These stages were proposed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969, as a way to understand the emotional process of grieving. They are:

Many people associate teardrops with the fourth stage, depression, reflection, and loneliness. During this stage, individuals may experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair. They may isolate themselves from others and have difficulty finding joy in things that once brought them happiness. Tears can be a way to release these intense emotions and provide a sense of catharsis and release.

Stage Emotions Physical Symptoms
Shock and denial Numbness, disbelief Difficulty concentrating, confusion
Pain and guilt Sadness, regret, self-blame Physical pain, loss of appetite
Anger and bargaining Anger, frustration Irritability, restlessness
Depression, reflection, and loneliness Sadness, hopelessness, despair Isolation, insomnia, loss of appetite
The upward turn Hope, renewal Increased energy, motivation
Reconstruction and working through Problem-solving, acceptance New habits, seeking support
Acceptance and hope Peace, resolution General sense of calmness and acceptance

It’s important to note that not everyone experiences the stages of grief in the same way or in the same order. Grief is a highly individualized experience that can be influenced by a variety of factors, including cultural and religious beliefs, personal coping mechanisms, and the nature of the loss itself.

In addition to the stages of grief, teardrops can also symbolize other aspects of mental health, such as the release of stress and anxiety. Crying can be a way to let out pent-up emotions and release tension in the body. It can also stimulate the production of endorphins, which can provide a sense of relief and well-being.

Overall, teardrops serve as a powerful symbol in the realm of mental health. They represent the many complex emotions that individuals may experience during times of stress, grief, and transition. By understanding the relationship between teardrops and mental health, we can develop a greater awareness and empathy for those struggling with their mental well-being.

The Political Implications of Teardrop Tattoos

Teardrop tattoos have long been associated with gangs and violence, but they have also taken on political meaning in recent years. Here, we explore the political implications of teardrop tattoos with a focus on the number 8.

The Number 8

  • The number 8 is often used in teardrop tattoos to represent the eighth letter of the alphabet, which is “H.”
  • “H” is often used to signify the word “hate” by white supremacist groups.
  • As a result, teardrop tattoos with the number 8 are often associated with white power and neo-Nazi ideologies.

Connection to Racism and Hate

In recent years, the number 8 teardrop tattoo has become a symbol of hate and racism, particularly in the United States. This is due to the association with white supremacist groups who use the symbol to represent their ideology.

For example, in 2017, a man was arrested for committing a hate crime while wearing a t-shirt with a number 88 on it, which is a code used by white supremacists to promote their racist beliefs. The number 88 is often used along with a number 14, which represents the “14 words” slogan often used by white supremacists.

Overall, the number 8 teardrop tattoo is a symbol that has been co-opted by hate groups to promote their racist and bigoted beliefs. It is important to be aware of the political implications of such symbols, and to reject any form of hate or intolerance in our society.

Teardrops in fashion and jewelry

Teardrops are not just limited to representing sadness or grief but they are also used in fashion and jewelry to symbolize different meanings. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which teardrops are used in fashion and jewelry.

The Number 9 – Significance in Teardrop Jewelry

The number 9 is widely considered as a lucky number in many cultures. It is also referred to as the number of completeness and represents harmony and divine abundance. When it comes to teardrop jewelry, the number 9 has a special significance as it symbolizes completion and wholeness.

  • Many teardrop-shaped pendants are designed with nine stones, such as diamonds or other gemstones to represent this meaning.
  • The number 9 can also be seen in the length or size of a teardrop earring, as it is often designed to be 9mm long to represent this numerological significance.
  • In addition, the number 9 can be used to express a sense of finality or closure. For example, a teardrop necklace with 9 pendant drops could represent the end of a journey or a significant chapter in someone’s life.

Overall, the use of the number 9 in teardrop jewelry is a meaningful way to add depth and significance to a piece of jewelry. It represents a sense of completeness, harmony, and can even serve as a reminder of a significant moment or memory in one’s life.

Teardrops in Clothing and Accessories

Aside from jewelry, teardrops can also be seen in clothing and accessories. In fashion, teardrop shapes are often incorporated into the design of dresses, tops, and even shoes.

Teardrop shapes can be seen in various types of clothing such as:

Garment Description
Teardrop sleeves A sleeve style that flares out in a teardrop shape at the end.
Teardrop cutouts Small cutouts in the shape of a teardrop that add a unique touch to clothing.
Teardrop hemlines A hemline that follows a teardrop shape, creating a flattering silhouette.

Teardrops can also be found in accessory design. Teardrop-shaped earrings, necklaces, and bracelets are a popular choice among fashion enthusiasts. Additionally, teardrop-shaped handbags or clutches are also a stylish way to incorporate this shape into your wardrobe.

Overall, teardrops have become a significant symbol in fashion and jewelry design. Whether it is used to symbolize completion and wholeness, or to add a unique touch to clothing and accessories, the teardrop shape is a versatile and timeless design element.

The Symbolism of Teardrops in Tattoo Culture

Teardrops are a common design in tattoo culture. They can symbolize a range of emotions and experiences. While their symbolism depends on the context of the tattoo, they are often associated with sorrow, loss, and grief.

Number 10: The Number of Teardrops

  • The number of teardrops on a tattoo can also have a specific meaning. One teardrop tattooed underneath the eye often symbolizes the loss of a loved one or friend.
  • Two teardrops can signify the loss of a friend or family member and the wearer’s willingness to seek revenge.
  • Three teardrops can indicate the wearer has killed someone or that they have lost a fellow gang member.
  • Four teardrops can be worn by members of the Latin Kings gang and apparently represent “the four corners of the world” or “the four people who testified against the gang member wearing the tattoo.”
  • Five teardrops typically signify the wearer has been in prison for a long time, while six teardrops are believed to symbolize someone who has murdered or killed another.
  • Seven teardrops often represent a spouse or relationship partner who has died or been killed, while eight teardrops are used in remembrance of someone who was killed by a police officer.
  • Nine teardrops are worn by members of many gangs, including Bloods, Crips, and People Nation, to symbolize the wearer has served time in prison. (Note: This is not an all-encompassing list and the meaning of the number of teardrops can vary by individual or gang)
  • Ten teardrops are sometimes used to symbolize that the wearer is a member of elite law enforcement or a special forces unit and has killed in the line of duty. It is important to note that this symbolism is not widely recognized and the meaning of ten teardrops can vary greatly.


Teardrop tattoos are a complex and often misunderstood symbol in tattoo culture. While their meaning can vary by context and individual, it is important to understand the potential cultural and gang-related associations that can come with certain designs. If you are considering a teardrop tattoo, it is important to research and understand the potential symbolism before making your decision.

FAQs about What Does a Teardrop Symbolize

1. What does a teardrop tattoo symbolize?

In some cultures, a teardrop tattoo symbolizes the loss of a loved one, while in others, it represents a person who has committed a serious crime.

2. What does a teardrop necklace symbolize?

A teardrop necklace can symbolize a cherished memory or the emotions associated with a particular event or person.

3. What does a teardrop in a dream symbolize?

A teardrop in a dream can represent grief, sadness, or regret. It may also signify a release of emotions or a new beginning.

4. What does a teardrop tattoo under the eye symbolize for women?

For women, a teardrop tattoo under the eye can symbolize the loss of a child or a loved one.

5. What does a teardrop symbolize in Native American culture?

In Native American culture, a teardrop can symbolize the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. It is also associated with mourning and the expression of emotions.

6. What does a teardrop symbolize in Christianity?

A teardrop in Christianity can symbolize repentance, sorrow, or a heartfelt prayer.

7. What does a teardrop on a memorial statue symbolize?

A teardrop on a memorial statue can symbolize the mourning, remembrance, and honor of a loved one who has passed away.

Closing Paragraph

Thanks for taking the time to read about what a teardrop symbolizes. Whether you are looking to understand the meaning behind a tattoo or want to learn more about the emotions associated with this symbol, it is important to recognize the unique interpretation that different cultures and individuals may have. Remember to come back and visit for more life-like articles.