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 Bay Area has defined employee perks for the digital era, with its free cereal bars and on-site acupuncture and enviable maternity leave. Robert Morast, San Francisco Chronicle, "Hater’s guide to loving the San Francisco 49ers," 29 Jan. 2020 At Windstar's new World Spa, the journey includes acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. Janice Wald Henderson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Five Best Cruises for a Post-Holiday Detox," 18 Dec. 2019 Retreat activities also include trauma therapy offerings like tai chi, acupuncture and somatic bodywork. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: Reaching out to all the ‘silent warriors’ out there," 3 Nov. 2019 Through their health coaching experience, clients can also be introduced to other healing modalities, such as meditation, mindful movement, and even alternative practices like acupuncture. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Why A Health Coach Is 2020's Spiritual Guru," 14 Jan. 2020 Also on Hale's to-do list are other treatments that have a better safety record to back up their purported benefits, like acupuncture. Marci Robin, Allure, "Lucy Hale Says She Is “So About” Vaginal Steaming (Even Though She Hasn’t Tried It Yet)," 26 June 2019 Things like acupuncture and chiropractic as well as legalizing marijuana so that people have other paths to pain treatment other than opioids. Holly Otterbein,, "A Q&A with Molly Sheehan, the 'anti-imperialist' and scientist running for Congress | #PA5," 12 May 2018 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

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

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acupuncture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 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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