Getting a tattoo hurts, but the level of pain can vary. It can feel like scratching, burning, stinging, or tingling. Some people feel sharp pains while others may describe the feeling as dull. The amount of pain you feel will depend on your pain threshold and other factors, including where on your body you're getting the tattoo, the size and number of needles being used, and the artist's style (some are quick and some work more slowly, some are more gentle than others).
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The word tattoo, or tattow in the 18th century, is a loanword from the Samoan word tatau, meaning "to strike". The Oxford English Dictionary gives the etymology of tattoo as "In 18th c. tattaow, tattow. From Polynesian (Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan, etc.) tatau. In Marquesan, tatu." Before the importation of the Polynesian word, the practice of tattooing had been described in the West as painting, scarring or staining.