ACAB: what does it mean for different people

Inevitably, we occasionally encounter manifestations of the criminal world in our life. Most often it is tattoos and graffiti on buildings, fences. For example, hooligans began to write the acronym ACAB more often. What does it mean, not many good citizens know. And by the way, this character of the recalcitrant has a great history.

Where it all started

In England (and not only in it) the miners, who mined coal with almost bare hands, always felt themselves infringed on their rights. They did not have enough wages, their families were starving, and the children were dying. Yes, and they themselves often became victims of accidents in the mines.

ACAB decryption

All this contributed to the fact that periodically flared riots against business owners. And since the rich were always defended by the police, at such “protests” the miners began shouting All cops are bastards, expressing not so much hatred for particular servants of the order as for the whole system.

Prison tattoo

Of course, a significant part of the protesters fell into prison.There, everyone loves to cut and encode. So this phrase has undergone changes. Now it has become an acronym for ACAB. What is the abbreviation of these four letters, all the prisoners soon learned.

Since the abbreviation fits perfectly on 4 fingers, it is turned into a tattoo. People with her evoked respect because they openly protested against the system, which was not so and safe.

Finger tattoo


After the Soviet Union collapsed, many English notions became widely spoken in our language. The abbreviation ACAB with decoding is not left aside. Representatives of new asocial subcultures began to actively use it: skinheads, punks, football hooligans. After all, they all actively oppose the existing social system.

Tattoos A.C.A.B. migrated from the phalanges of the fingers to other parts of the body, often those that are sometimes hidden under clothing. This slogan can be heard at hooligan protest actions, and at football matches of those teams that have the most zealous fans.

acab tattoo

Not lost the symbol and abroad. People with a similar tattoo are still especially respected in England and the American ghettos.

A.C.A.B. in culture

Art has not bypassed this symbol.In the 70s of the last century, the British rock band 4 Skins again made this abbreviation popular after several decades of almost oblivion. They recorded a song of the same name.

In 2012, the joint Italian-French film ACAB - All Cops Are Bastards. In it, the main character is a young policeman who came to work in the department for the fight against law-breakers. His senior mentors teach the novice how to deal with bullies, showing particular cruelty. That's just a young man begins to doubt whether his elders are right.

The film won the prize for best film from the International Association of Film Critics.

Alternate Values ​​and Encryption

What does A.C.A.B. in the traditional sense, we figured it out. But there are alternative decryptions:

  • "Always carry a Bible with you" - Always Carry A Bible.
  • "All cats are beautiful" - All cats are beautiful.
  • "All cops are beautiful" - All cops are beautiful.

Since this abbreviation has become widely known not only to asocial elements, but also to the peace officers, it was begun to be encrypted even more. Now on the fences this slogan can be found in the form of a cryptogram 1312, each digit of which denotes a corresponding letter in the alphabet.

There is another version of encryption using playing cards - A3A2, where A denotes an ace, and 2 and 3 letters of the alphabet.

In the CIS countries, slightly modified words are also actively used, which have been transformed under the influence of local grammar. So, aqab is a policeman, and aqaba is a squad, a group of peace officers.

Interesting Facts

Today, this reduction is often the hallmark of not “thieves in law”, but football hooligans, who arrange fights between fans of different clubs.

Some artists of alternative musical genres are stuffing this tattoo. For example, rapper Guf made himself such an inscription on his chest.

all cops are bastards

In the electronic system of the Higher School of Economics, there is also a graduation of students, encrypted as ASA - graduate student-graduate student.

This abbreviation has become the subject of some Internet memes, on which either the seals are depicted or the vices of the current police are ridiculed.

Now you know what ACAB means. But do not rush to draw cardinal conclusions if you see such a tattoo on someone of your friends. It is not necessary that he is connected with the criminal world. Perhaps for him, the decoding of ACAB is simply a declaration of protest against society.

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