acu·​punc·​ture | \ ˈa-kyə-ˌpəŋ(k)-chər How to pronounce acupuncture (audio) , ˈa-kə- \

Definition of acupuncture

: an originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease or relieve pain (as in surgery)

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Other Words from acupuncture

acupuncture transitive verb
acupuncturist \ ˈa-​kyə-​ˌpəŋ(k)-​chə-​rist How to pronounce acupuncturist (audio) , ˈa-​kə-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

In Latin, acus means "needle", and the English word acupuncture was coined way back in the 17th century to describe a technique the Chinese had already been using for 2,000 years. An acupuncturist may insert many extremely fine needles at a time; the treatment is usually uncomfortable but not truly painful. In China today, even major surgery is often carried out using only acupuncture to kill the pain; it's also used for many other conditions, including insomnia, depression, smoking, and overweight. Acupuncture is based on ancient theories of bodily energy that few Western doctors have ever accepted; but even though attempts to explain its effects by Western science have been unsuccessful, it's now widely recognized by doctors as effective for pain reduction.

Examples of acupuncture in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The facility’s acupuncture suites are tranquil and scented with essential oils. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "What Happens When a Health Plan Has No Limits? An Acupuncturist Earns $677 a Session.," 19 Dec. 2019 Earlier this month, the style star shared how acupuncture has been beneficial. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Ashley Graham Says She's 'Gained 50 Lbs.' During Pregnancy: 'I Have Never Felt Better'," 14 Dec. 2019 Luca Bruno/Associated Press What do Chinese acupuncture, Irish hurling and the polyphonic singing of the Aka Pygmies of Central Africa have in common? New York Times, "Italians Celebrate Their Coffee and Want the World to Do So, Too," 3 Dec. 2019 For example, the family bundle includes access to a preventative lab screening that measures health indicators like diabetes, up to a 30% discount on chiropractic, massage therapy and acupuncture services, and a 10% discount on hearing aids. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Walmart’s Sam’s Club launches health care pilot to members," 26 Sep. 2019 The meridians surface at roughly 360 places identified as acupuncture points. Deborah Storey | For, al, "Alabama vet specializes in acupuncture for pets," 11 Sep. 2019 Specifically, doctors more frequently are prescribing over-the-counter pain relievers and encouraging patients to pursue alternative therapies such as acupuncture or music therapy to address pain. Marisa Peryer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In wake of Tomah opioid scandal, VA system has undergone culture change, secretary says," 1 July 2019 There are support groups: message boards emanating endless goodwill, with stories of successful pregnancies and the things women did to reach them: acupuncture, reiki, eating a core of ripe pineapple. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "The world is messy and hard to control. Take help, and give it, where you can.," 30 Dec. 2019 Now acupuncture, laser and sound-wave therapy, electrical stimulation, and underwater treadmills are the treatments of choice to promote healing and help manage pain. Karen Angel, USA TODAY, "Physical therapy for dogs? Some owners turn to rehab to manage chronic pain, avoid costly surgery," 30 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acupuncture.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acupuncture

1684, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acupuncture

Latin acū- (stem—or ablative—of acus "needle") + puncture entry 1 — more at acute

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Time Traveler for acupuncture

Time Traveler

The first known use of acupuncture was in 1684

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Statistics for acupuncture

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acupuncture.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for acupuncture


How to pronounce acupuncture (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of acupuncture

: a method of relieving pain or curing illness by placing needles into a person's skin at particular points on the body


acu·​punc·​ture | \ -ˌpəŋ(k)-chər How to pronounce acupuncture (audio) \

Medical Definition of acupuncture

: an originally Chinese practice of inserting fine needles through the skin at specific points especially to cure disease, relieve pain, or promote healing

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