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)

Keep scrolling for more

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 Khadija Tudor, the owner of Life Wellness Center, a massage and acupuncture studio and apothecary in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, has been selling merchandise outside without having heard of Open Storefronts. New York Times, "Outdoor Dining Is a Hit. What About Outdoor Shopping?," 2 Dec. 2020 Regularly engaging in activities such as exercise, yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture can separate your mind from your troubles and help to reduce stress responses, Koshgerian said. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "Dentists are seeing more cracked teeth. Pandemic stress is to blame," 29 Sep. 2020 The new JenCare Dolton location opened Dec. 16 and will offer unlimited visits, as well as on-site cardiology, medication dispensing, imaging, labs, acupuncture and more. Bob Bong,, "Comings & Goings: Dollar Tree coming to Frankfort Square," 29 Dec. 2020 Those essential businesses included grocery stores, banks, acupuncture facilities, campgrounds, garages and transportation facilities. Cass R. Sunstein Bloomberg Opinion (tns), Star Tribune, "Don't read too much into worship ruling," 30 Nov. 2020 After receiving acupuncture, Anstead quickly overcame her infertility and became pregnant. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "Christina Anstead Says She’s Going to Focus More on “Spiritual Healing” Next Year," 17 Nov. 2020 Kantor has tried every avenue imaginable to regain his sense of smell: a course of high-dose steroids to reduce inflammation; a smell-training program with essential oils; beta-carotene supplements for nerve regeneration; acupuncture. Stephani Sutherland, Scientific American, "Mysteries of COVID Smell Loss Finally Yield Some Answers," 18 Nov. 2020 Like the head massager, this design is based upon acupuncture points. Popular Science, "These seven massagers can help eliminate your pent-up stress," 12 Nov. 2020 One lazy afternoon a few years ago, a woman my age was giving me acupuncture. Minae Mizumura, The New York Review of Books, "A Decent America," 5 Nov. 2020

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Statistics for acupuncture

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Acupuncture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on acupuncture

What made you want to look up acupuncture? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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