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 This means providers in the traditional sense(including MDs, CNMs, NPs, PhDs, RNs and RDs) as well as body workers (including acupuncture, massage therapists, and physical trainers). Maya Feller, NBC News, "Nutritionist Maya Feller: 5 ways to diversify the wellness industry," 24 June 2020 After contact with sick patients through the nursing home and Timothy’s acupuncture practice, both Soon Sun and Timothy tested positive for COVID-19 in April. Tiffany Wong, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus devastates Koreatown family, one by one," 23 June 2020 Now, there are pet physical therapy centers that offer everything from aqua therapy (think underwater treadmills and pools) to massage and acupuncture. Hannah Harper,, "How to Care for an Aging Pet," 10 June 2020 My detox and pain management regimen includes acupuncture and infrared sauna treatments., "This Woman Was Bitten by a Tick in 2007—and She's Still Dealing With Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms," 28 May 2020 The plan covers Lasik surgery, smoking deterrents, orthotics, weight-control drugs and nutritional counseling, dentures and bridges, acupuncture and bariatric surgery for obesity if the patient meets specific medical guidelines. Jon Lender,, "Jon Lender: Retirees win ruling that Hartford violated judge’s order by changing medical plan, but without a contempt finding, did they win?," 2 Nov. 2019 Ohio has posted guidelines for the openings of massage parlors, acupuncture facilities and cosmetic therapy locations on its website. cleveland, "Ohio tattoo, massage businesses get green light to reopen May 15," 12 May 2020 Through sharing, talking, crying … moving my body, acupuncture. Jen Juneau,, "'Nervous' Hilaria Baldwin Goes to Therapy After Miscarriage and Tells Others 'You Are Worth It'," 21 Nov. 2019 What is an acupuncture clinic to do in times of COVID-19 quarantine? Kendall Cornish, Travel + Leisure, "Webcam Acupressure Is the Wellness Service I Never Knew I’d End Up Needing," 27 Apr. 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.

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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

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acupuncture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 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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