acu·​punc·​ture | \-ˌpəŋ(k)-chər \

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 \-​ˌpəŋ(k)-​chə-​rist \ 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

Studies show meditation can ease stress and depression, and acupuncture can help alleviate side effects and pain. Nicole Tsong, The Seattle Times, "Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s new Integrative Medicine program includes activity as a part of treatment," 7 Sep. 2018 For those interested in natural treatments, Shen says that mindfulness, paced breathing, and acupuncture seem to work. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "How Long Does Menopause Last?," 6 Sep. 2018 The cub also received antibiotics, laser treatments and acupuncture to manage pain. Fox News, "Bear cub burned in California wildfire gets 'fish-skin'," 10 Aug. 2018 Other buzzy topics: blue-blocking glasses, meditation and breath-monitoring gadgets, acupuncture, supplements, and essential oils. Maridel Reyes, Glamour, "'Biohacking' Your Anxiety Is a Buzzy Practice—but What Does It Actually Mean?," 16 Oct. 2018 There are neurofeedback experts, physical therapists, neurologists, psychiatrists, art and music therapy, acupuncture. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Heroes of Science Who Are Unlocking the Brain," 3 Oct. 2018 The spas offer acupuncture, massage and yoga for fertility patients and the general public. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "The Fertility Clinic That Cut IVF Prices in Half," 10 Sep. 2018 In some cases, insurance pays for acupuncture treatment. Georgea Kovanis, Detroit Free Press, "How Northville acupuncturist is fighting back after husband's overdose death," 25 June 2018 In Paris, those in the know go to see Martine de Richeville, who combined her master’s degree in psychology with training in acupuncture to create a signature Remodelage treatment designed to rid the body of bulges and the mind of stress. Emily Listfield, Harper's BAZAAR, "The New Body Sculptors," 1 June 2017

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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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for acupuncture

The first known use of acupuncture was in 1684

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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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on acupuncture

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with acupuncture

Spanish Central: Translation of acupuncture

Nglish: Translation of acupuncture for Spanish Speakers

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

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