Caitlin Delphine isn’t the first person to get a tattoo of a foreign word while travelling abroad.
Even the Swedish traveller’s decision to get the same one as her friend and two Australian ex-pats they’d only just met isn’t the most unusual thing.
What captured people’s attention online, after Delphine shared a video to TikTok, was the translation of the Arabic word she had permanently inked on her skin: mayonnaise.
In the clip, which has been viewed almost two million times, Delphine shows an Arabic word tattooed on her friend’s arm and a man’s ankle. At the same time, she holds an iPhone over the tattoos while using the Google Translate app, which automatically translates the text to reveal the word as “mayonnaise”.
The clip quickly went viral online and dozens of people debated the same key question - did Delphine mean to get this word tattooed on her body, or was it a mistake?
One person shared a frame from the video on X (formerly Twitter), which gained almost 19 million views as people commented and shared the unusual tattoo.
In the comments, one user explained that there was no exact translation for the word mayonnaise, so the tattoo spelled it out phonetically.
“My dumb ass was sitting here trying to read it in Arabic like, ‘What the hell is a miyoneeze?” they wrote.
Others suggested it was reckless and disrespectful to get a tattoo in another language without researching what it means.
However, others saw it as commercial.
“If I were white and accidentally got this tattoo, I’d lean in and get ‘mayonnaise’ tattooed in a bunch of other languages too,” one commented.
“If they don’t know it means mayonnaise, that’s pretty funny. If they DO know it means mayonnaise, I’d argue that’s funnier,” another said.
Eventually, Delphine released another video about the tattoo to settle the debate, which had got “out of hand”.
“First of all, yes, these tattoos are on purpose,” she said, adding that they went to a local Moroccan tattoo artist, who “thought the whole thing was super-funny”.
Delphine then explained how she and her friend Jasmine had met two Australian men in Spain and decided to travel to Morocco with them.
“We had a fantastic time. It was a two-and-a-half-week trip, so we decided to get tattooed to commemorate the whole thing,” she said.
So, why mayonnaise?
Delphine said they were eating lunch one day and discussing how beautiful Arabic looked written down.
“We picked up a mayonnaise packet and we were like, ‘Even mayonnaise looks really beautiful written in Arabic’, so it became an inside joke,” she explained.
The group then decided to get that word, in Arabic, tattooed on different body parts.
On TikTok, Delphine joked that it may be the first of many.
“I think I need ranch now,” she wrote.