[muh-sahzh, -sahj or, esp. British, mas-ahzh]
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  1. the act or art of treating the body by rubbing, kneading, patting, or the like, to stimulate circulation, increase suppleness, relieve tension, etc.
  2. Slang. attentive or indulgent treatment; pampering: ego massage.
verb (used with object), mas·saged, mas·sag·ing.
  1. to treat by massage.
  2. Slang. to treat with special care and attention; coddle or pamper: The store massages its regular customers with gifts and private sales.
  3. Informal.
    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 formsmas·sag·er, mas·sag·ist, noun
Can be confusedmassage message Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for massage

Contemporary Examples of massage

Historical Examples of massage

British Dictionary definitions for massage


  1. the act of kneading, rubbing, etc, parts of the body to promote circulation, suppleness, or relaxation
verb (tr)
  1. to give a massage to
  2. to treat (stiffness, aches, etc) by a massage
  3. to manipulate (statistics, data, etc) so that they appear to support a particular interpretation or to be better than they are; doctor
  4. massage someone's ego to boost someone's sense of self-esteem by flattery
Derived Formsmassager or massagist, noun

Word Origin for massage

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

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

massage in Medicine


[mə-säzh -säj]
  1. The rubbing or kneading of parts of the body especially to aid circulation, relax the muscles, or provide sensual stimulation.
  2. An act or instance of such rubbing or kneading.
  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.