There are three different meanings for this word although the spelling remains the same. The first appearance of the word, c. 1629, derives from the Hindi word tattu, which describes a species of pony endemic to India. The second meaning appears a little later from a completely different source, the Netherlands. Throughout the 17th century, the English and Dutch fought several wars, chiefly for naval supremacy. English troops actually occupied parts of the Netherlands and curfews were necessary to control the hostile population. The English set up a system whereby troops would march through the streets just before curfew time beating drums to summon off-duty soldiers to fall in behind them. It was also a signal for the taverns to close. The Dutch called it taptoe, which meant closing the taps on the barrels of ale. The English adopted the name as ‘tattoo’, which took on the meaning of the drumbeat itself. The original Dutch meaning was left far behind and the tattoo or drumbeat by the mid-18th century developed into a military entertainment, usually held by torchlight, which would feature drummers, martial music and exercises. The tradition of the military tattoo continues to this day with the annual Edinburgh Tattoo. The third meaning, referring to permanent designs on human skin comes from a completely different source, from the Polynesian word tatu. British sailors first encountered this method of body adornment in the South Pacific during the mid-18th century, where the practice was, and still is, rife.