What are the Personality Traits Associated with the Chinese Zodiac Sign Tiger?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

As you might imagine, people who are born in the Year of the Tiger tend to have strong, powerful personalities. They share the traits of boldness and courage with their wild animal counterparts, and the sign is associated with many masculine traits, as it is a yang astrological sign. The fixed element of this sign is wood, giving people with it enthusiasm, charm, and an abiding interest in exploration and adventure.

People born in the Year of the Tiger tend to seek adventure and exploration.
People born in the Year of the Tiger tend to seek adventure and exploration.

Chinese astrology is quite complex, and each individual Year of the Tiger comes with its own special traits, including a fluctuating series of Heavenly Branches, the five elements in their yin and yang forms. These factors, along with the date, location, and time of birth of someone with the tiger zodiac sign can all influence his or her personality and fate, according to Chinese tradition.

The courage and boldness of a tiger is often reflected in someone born under its sign.
The courage and boldness of a tiger is often reflected in someone born under its sign.

Many tigers become figures of respect in their communities, and they seek praise and authority. However, they also have a tendency to come into conflict with older people and people in positions of authority, perhaps because of their powerful and dominating personalities. This sign is associated with a charming, friendly, open manner which makes people with it very popular people, but this openness also has a dark side. Someone with this sign is usually extremely frank, sometimes to the point of being offensive, and tigers are not always known for their tact.

An ox is one of the symbols of the Chinese zodiac.
An ox is one of the symbols of the Chinese zodiac.

Someone born in the Year of the Tiger tends to have a sensitive, introspective personality, with a genuine sense of kindness and caring. However, tigers can also be extremely suspicious, questioning the motivations and goals of others, and while they can make decisive choices, they can sometimes be extremely impulsive, occasionally making monumentally poor decisions.

People who are born under the tiger zodiac tend not to get along well with those born under the monkey zodiac.
People who are born under the tiger zodiac tend not to get along well with those born under the monkey zodiac.

The tiger personality likes stimulation in the form of new places, people, and adventures. Many seek out careers which allow them to fulfill their need for adventure, becoming explorers, stunt people, astronauts, film stars, athletes, and law enforcement personnel. Their personality traits also suit them well if they choose careers in the arts or law, and many tigers make excellent stockbrokers and entrepreneurs, thanks to their bold attitudes about life.

People born under this sign get along best with horses, dogs, and pigs, tending to forge strong partnerships and lasting friendships with these signs. They can also form reasonably good friendships with other tigers, rabbits, sheep, and dragons. They do not get along very well with rats, oxen, snakes, roosters, and monkeys.

Tigers are often charming and very friendly.
Tigers are often charming and very friendly.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Asian culture has always been a part of my life and I have learned much as such that I am the ferocious Tiger.


What kind of things are Tigers impressed by?

There is a girl I like who is a Tiger in the zodiac and I want to get to know her. She is very confident, beautiful, energetic and hard to impress. What should I do?


@Tufenkian-- I agree with you.

I used to think that Chinese zodiac signs are too simplistic. Probably because my only knowledge of them came from the table setters in Chinese restaurants.

But recently, I read about them in detail and I think they are really precise. I knew I was a Tiger but I found out which element I belong to and read about that specific one. It matches my personality so well! I think it's much more accurate than the astrological sun signs.


I'm a Tiger and I think most of these qualities apply to me. I believe that I am a considerate and kind person and I like helping people. But it is true that I have a dark side in the sense that if someone upsets me, I will never forget it.

I hold grudges indefinitely and I can't forgive those who hurt me. Sometimes I think that this is a bad quality, but at the same time, I think that this quality protects me from getting hurt again.

Overall, I'm very happy being a Tiger. I think it's one of the best Chinese zodiacs to be associated with.


The fixed elements of both the Tiger and the Dragon is wood. Their mottos are also similar: the motto of the Dragon is "I reign," and the motto of the Tiger is "I win." This shows that these two signs may come into conflict at times, and the Dragon is normally revered as more powerful.


In addition to variations based on animals, there are further variations based on elements for each of these animals. The variation goes in this order: water, wood, fire, earth, metal. Normally, one should check into which element their animal is identified with to understand the specifics of their sign.


The Chinese zodiac is not associated with stars like the Western zodiac. There is therefore a strong tradition of memory according to dates rather than of looking to the sky. Ancient Babylonian tradition and Ancient Chinese tradition have much in common, but also slight differences such as this. The Chinese zodiac was followed as far west as Bulgaria up until the coming of Christianity to that nation. This was due to the transmission of it by the Huns and Turkic peoples.


Some Westerners may tend to think that Eastern cultures are very much about mere conformity and lacking individualism. The zodiac demonstrates this view to be fundamentally flawed, because every person has traits which associate them strongly with their stars. The high emphasis on luck and personal success in the eastern tradition also shows that people are interested in competition and making a name for themselves, although in a different manner than Westerners.

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