A tattoo is a form of body modification, made by inserting ink, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment.
The word tattoo, or tattow in the 18th century, is a loanword from the Malayo-Polynesian word tatau, meaning "to write". 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." Its called tatu insular Southeast Asia. Before the importation of the Polynesian word, the practice of tattooing had been described in the West as painting, scarring, or staining.