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)

Other Words from acupuncture

acupuncture transitive verb
acupuncturist \ ˈa-​kyə-​ˌpəŋ(k)-​chə-​rist How to pronounce acupuncture (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 Her treatments mix acupuncture with cupping and massage, and Renata can help with everything from digestive disorders to migraines, anxiety to menstrual cramps with her healing touch. Bridget Arsenault, Forbes, 26 Dec. 2021 But that bit of neural micro-acupuncture is also a lucky break for a separate team of researchers because the electrodes are in contact with parts of her brain responsible for the production and articulation of spoken words. Adam Rogers, Wired, 9 Nov. 2021 The seven-person operation offers physical therapy, counseling services, acupuncture and Reiki massage on a free or sliding-scale basis. Shwanika Narayan, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Nov. 2021 It can be used to cover forms of traditional Chinese medicine, such as acupressure and acupuncture; aspects of the Indian tradition Ayurveda; and more recent inventions like Reiki, which involves pressure-free caressing and non-touch hand movements. Jessica Wapner, The New Yorker, 6 Nov. 2021 The acupuncture, combined with tapering doses of methadone, helped many patients get clean in as few as ten days. Valeria Ricciulli, Curbed, 25 Oct. 2021 Before the pandemic hit Oregon, Serra proposed a massage and acupuncture program that was approved through the pitch process. oregonlive, 27 Sep. 2021 These mats use acupressure, which is similar to acupuncture but trades needles for plastic plates to create gentle pressure on your body that supposedly releases endorphins, those nice stress-relieving chemicals. Medea Giordano, Wired, 29 Oct. 2021 Vocal therapy, including acupuncture and massage, helped a little. Hector Saldana, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Oct. 2021

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.

See More

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

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best massage guns.

Learn More About acupuncture

Time Traveler for acupuncture

Time Traveler

The first known use of acupuncture was in 1684

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near acupuncture




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for acupuncture

Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Acupuncture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for acupuncture



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

More from Merriam-Webster on acupuncture

Nglish: Translation of acupuncture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acupuncture for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about acupuncture


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!