mas·sage (mə-säzh, -säj)
a. The therapeutic manipulation of body tissues by a trained practitioner, as by systematic stroking, kneading, or application of pressure, to effect a beneficial physiological response such as pain reduction or improved circulation.
b. An act or instance of the therapeutic manipulation of body tissues. Also called therapeutic massage.
a. The rubbing or kneading of parts of the body to relax the muscles, aid circulation, or provide sensual pleasure.
b. An act or instance of such rubbing or kneading.
a. The manipulation of the genitals or other body tissues for sexual arousal; erotic massage.
b. An act or instance of erotic massage.
c. Illicit sexual services provided under the guise of therapeutic massage.
tr.v. mas·saged, mas·sag·ing, mas·sag·es
1. To give a massage to.
2. To treat by means of a massage.
3. To coddle or cajole.
4. To manipulate (data, for example): Pollsters massaged the numbers to favor their candidate.
[French, from masser, to massage, from Arabic masaḥa, to stroke, anoint; see mšḥ in the Appendix of Semitic roots or massa, to touch; see mšš in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.