Historically, executioner tattoos are a type of prison tattoo, usually meaning the wearer has murdered a family member. The prison tattoo could also mean the wearer has a “death penalty” to anyone who crosses them. If you’re looking for a tattoo that tells onlookers you are not to be messed with, an executioner tattoo could get the message across loud and clear. An executioner tattoo could also mean a “do or die” attitude, surviving a near-death experience, or simply a love of horror imagery. Commonly, executioners are pictured with a black hood over their face and an axe used for beheading. This image comes from medieval times, although criminals weren’t always beheaded. Other methods of capital punishment included lethal injection, hanging and the guillotine. The guillotine was used in France during the French Revolution, and continued to be used until 1977. The French Republic even had an official executioner, who served until 1981 when capital punishment was formally abolished.