A spider web tattoo historically signifies a struggle or inability to escape a situation and is often associated with prison tattoos, with the spider web representing prison bars. Modern versions of the spider web tattoo have become more mainstream, taking on a less negative definition, and can hold a personal meaning for the wearer.
A spider web tattoo offers different connotations depending on different regions of the world. In the United States, the design is traditionally worn by prisoners, racist factions and other antisocial networks as a reminder of their struggle, prey and trap. In the Soviet Union, the elaborate web design's location signifies the prisoner's offense. In Paris, an elbow web means the person is a pillar of the bar and has been there so long that spider webs have formed.