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[muh-sahzh, -sahj or, esp. British, mas-ahzh] /məˈsɑʒ, -ˈsɑdʒ or, esp. British, ˈmæs ɑʒ/
the act or art of treating the body by rubbing, kneading, patting, or the like, to stimulate circulation, increase suppleness, relieve tension, etc.
Slang. attentive or indulgent treatment; pampering:
ego massage.
verb (used with object), massaged, massaging.
to treat by massage.
Slang. to treat with special care and attention; coddle or pamper:
The store massages its regular customers with gifts and private sales.
  1. to manipulate, maneuver, or handle skillfully:
    to massage a bill through the Senate.
  2. to manipulate, organize, or rearrange (data, figures, or the like) to produce a specific result, especially a favorable one:
    The auditors discovered that the company had massaged the books.
Origin of massage
1875-80; < French, equivalent to mass(er) to massage (< Arabic massa to handle) + -age -age
Related forms
massager, massagist, noun
Can be confused
massage, message. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for massage
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For the present he can but prescribe a purgative and a massage of the arm and spine.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • It is often the case that some gland is weak and can be strengthened by this massage.

  • Don't forget the daily massage; it will work wonders in your appearance.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter
  • Having once come to massage her, she wished to see him again, retained him.

    The Nabob Alphonse Daudet
  • Automatically she gives him his bath, his massage, his run in the park.

    Once a Week Alan Alexander Milne
British Dictionary definitions for massage


/ˈmæsɑːʒ; -sɑːdʒ/
the act of kneading, rubbing, etc, parts of the body to promote circulation, suppleness, or relaxation
verb (transitive)
to give a massage to
to treat (stiffness, aches, etc) by a massage
to manipulate (statistics, data, etc) so that they appear to support a particular interpretation or to be better than they are; doctor
massage someone's ego, to boost someone's sense of self-esteem by flattery
Derived Forms
massager, massagist, noun
Word Origin
C19: from French, from masser to rub; see mass
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for massage

1874, from French massage "friction of kneading," from masser "to massage," possibly from Arabic massa "to touch, feel, handle;" if so, probably picked up in Egypt during the Napoleonic campaign there. Other possibility is that French got it in colonial India from Portuguese amassar "knead," a verb from Latin massa "mass, dough" (see mass (n.1)). Massage parlor first attested 1894, from the start a euphemism for "house of prostitution."


1874, from massage (n.). Related: Massaged; massaging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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massage in Medicine

massage mas·sage (mə-säzh' -säj')
The rubbing or kneading of parts of the body for therapeutic purposes. v. mas·saged, mas·sag·ing, mas·sag·es

  1. To give a massage to.

  2. To treat by means of a massage.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for massage



  1. To beat; drub; ROUGH someone UP: caught and massaged with rubber hoses (1924+)
  2. To handle, process, or manipulate data, esp computer data: The results all depend on how you massage it (1966+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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