the process of drawing blood from the body by scarification and the application of a cupping glass, or by the application of a cupping glass without scarification, as for relieving internal congestion.

Nearby words

  1. cupola,
  2. cupolated,
  3. cuppa,
  4. cupped,
  5. cupper,
  6. cupping glass,
  7. cuppy,
  8. cupr-,
  9. cuprammonium,
  10. cupreous

Origin of cupping

First recorded in 1350–1400, cupping is from the Middle English word cuppinge. See cup, -ing1




a small, open container made of china, glass, metal, etc., usually having a handle and used chiefly as a receptable from which to drink tea, soup, etc.
the bowllike part of a goblet or the like.
a cup with its contents.
the quantity contained in a cup.
a unit of capacity, equal to 8 fluid ounces (237 milliliters) or 16 tablespoons; half-pint.
an ornamental bowl, vase, etc., especially of precious metal, offered as a prize for a contest.
any of various beverages, as a mixture of wine and various ingredients: claret cup.
the chalice used in the Eucharist.
the wine of the Eucharist.
something to be partaken of or endured; one's portion, as of joy or suffering.
cups, the drinking of intoxicating liquors.
any cuplike utensil, organ, part, cavity, etc.
either of the two forms that cover and usually support the breasts in a brassiere or other garment, as a bathing suit.
an athletic supporter reinforced with rigid plastic or metal for added protection.
  1. the metal receptacle within the hole.
  2. the hole itself.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Crater.
Metalworking. a cylindrical shell closed at one end, especially one produced in the first stages of a deep-drawing operation.
Mathematics. the cuplike symbol ∪, used to indicate the union of two sets.Compare union(def 10a).

verb (used with object), cupped, cup·ping.

to take or place in, or as in, a cup: He cupped his ear with the palm of his hand.
to form into a cuplike shape: He cupped his hands.
to use a cupping glass on.
Metalworking. to form (tubing, containers, etc.) by punching hot strip or sheet metal and drawing it through a die.Compare deep-draw.

Origin of cup

before 1000; Middle English, Old English cuppe < Latin cuppa, variant of cūpa tub, cask

Related formscup·like, adjectiveun·der·cup, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cupping

British Dictionary definitions for cupping



med archaic the process of applying a cupping glass to the skin



a small open container, usually having one handle, used for drinking from
the contents of such a containerthat cup was too sweet
Also called: teacup, cupful a unit of capacity used in cooking equal to approximately half a pint, 8 fluid ounces, or about one quarter of a litre
something resembling a cup in shape or function, such as the flower base of some plants of the rose family or a cuplike bodily organ
either of two cup-shaped parts of a brassiere, designed to support the breasts
a cup-shaped trophy awarded as a prize
  1. a sporting contest in which a cup is awarded to the winner
  2. (as modifier)a cup competition
a mixed drink with one ingredient as a base, usually served from a bowlclaret cup
golf the hole or metal container in the hole on a green
the chalice or the consecrated wine used in the Eucharist
one's lot in life
in one's cups drunk
one's cup of tea informal one's chosen or preferred thing, task, company, etcshe's not my cup of tea

verb cups, cupping or cupped (tr)

to form (something, such as the hands) into the shape of a cup
to put into or as if into a cup
archaic to draw blood to the surface of the body of (a person) by using a cupping glass
Derived Formscuplike, adjective

Word Origin for cup

Old English cuppe, from Late Latin cuppa cup, alteration of Latin cūpa cask

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

Word Origin and History for cupping
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for cupping




The formation of a hollow or cup-shaped excavation.
A therapeutic procedure, no longer in use, in which evacuated glass cups are applied to intact or scarified skin in order to draw blood to the surface.




A cup-shaped structure or organ.
cupping glass
A unit of capacity or volume equal to 16 tablespoons or 8 fluid ounces.


To subject a person or body part to the therapeutic procedure of cupping.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with cupping


In addition to the idiom beginning with cup

  • cup of tea, one's

also see:

  • in one's cups
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.