Definition of massage in English:


Pronunciation: /məˈsɑː(d)ʒ//ˈmasɑː(d)ʒ/


  • [mass noun] The rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints of the body with the hands, especially to relieve tension or pain.

    ‘massage can ease tiredness’
    [count noun] ‘a massage will help loosen you up’
    • ‘The most common conditions that require just remedial massage are shoulder pain and stiff necks.’
    • ‘This plant will keep insects away when used in oil burners and in massage will relieve muscle tension.’
    • ‘The massage also gave my body a chance to rebalance itself, and the light-headedness had gone by the end.’
    • ‘The treatment involves a complete exfoliation, including the face, followed by a shower and a body and face massage.’
    • ‘The massage of muscle movement will stimulate the flow of stagnant blood in your leg veins.’
    • ‘All types of massage can have an effect on the skin, muscles, blood vessels, lymph, nerves and some of the internal organs.’
    • ‘I had a Japanese shiatsu massage in a pagoda scattered with frangipani petals, as the sea rolled onto the beach under my head.’
    • ‘You get a full body massage and exfoliation, so your skin feels like silk and you know there aren't going to be any areas you've missed.’
    • ‘The gate control theory of pain also has been used to explain the effectiveness of massage in pain control.’
    • ‘They will return to the spa for a back tension massage followed by a luxury facial.’
    • ‘Sessions with a massage therapist eased the tension and Rhona began to think that there was some hope of recovery.’
    • ‘You could learn massage to ease pain, for example, and support your partner in the different positions she may want to use during labour.’
    • ‘She offers aromatherapy massages to ease tension and back pain, and manicures, pedicures, arm and foot massages to improve joint mobility.’
    • ‘Oils are generally applied by the aromatherapist by means of a full body massage.’
    • ‘I'm not sure that massage would actually relieve the pain, but it would certainly make me feel better!’
    • ‘The massage systems also reduce shoulder tension caused by prolonged sitting and cervical pain.’
    • ‘The types of massage differ in the hand strokes used on your body and the pressure applied with each stroke.’
    • ‘He developed an interest in massage and body work and observed football trainers and others involved with sports.’
    • ‘A full body or facial massage is the perfect way to top off your home-spa experience.’
    • ‘Regular massage encourages circulation, and helps relax both body and mind.’
    rub-down, rubbing, rub, kneading, palpation, manipulation, pummelling
    shiatsu, reflexology, acupressure, hydromassage, swedish massage, osteopathy, chiropractic treatment, effleurage, tapotement, rolfing
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  • 1Rub and knead (a person or part of the body) with the hands.

    ‘she massaged his tired muscles’
    • ‘No oils or lotions are used and the session usually lasts about 20 minutes as only the upper body is massaged.’
    • ‘The fingers that were upon my shoulder blades were massaging me at a hard, but gentle pace.’
    • ‘It massages the abdominal muscles, alleviating digestive disorders.’
    • ‘The duration of each treatment also varies according to the amount of body surface to be massaged.’
    • ‘This involved sitting in a heated seawater bath while jets massaged her body from top to toe.’
    • ‘Spend at least 5-10 minutes massaging the entire body and then relax for 5 minutes.’
    • ‘Your entire body may be massaged and your limbs may be stretched and gently shaken.’
    • ‘She was brought back to reality when the kind hands stopped massaging her.’
    • ‘Some massage therapists use oils or lotions to reduce friction while massaging your body.’
    • ‘Then massage the entire body, applying even pressure with the whole hand - palm and fingers.’
    • ‘The sessions are aimed at teaching parents how to massage their babies and share in the magic of loving touch.’
    • ‘He revelled in the exquisite pleasure of the warm spray massaging his body.’
    • ‘You step into the specially designed bath and hundreds of revolving jets or water from nozzles massages the entire body from the feet to the neck.’
    • ‘Once all were in place, the therapist used other hot stones to massage me all over.’
    • ‘She closed her eyes and carefully massaged her painfully hard stomach.’
    • ‘You'll enjoy the feeling of gently massaging your baby, but miss out her spine and avoid nut-based oils such as almond oil.’
    • ‘He started to massage my body and I felt my tension draining away as I started to drift off.’
    • ‘Be very careful when massaging anyone with special medical or health issues.’
    • ‘This treatment involves basking in a warm bath while more than 100 jets massage your body.’
    • ‘I had a quick shower, and was then back on the table to be covered with piping-hot towels then pummelled, kneaded and massaged all over.’
    rub, rub down, knead, palpate, manipulate, pummel, work
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    1. 1.1Rub a substance into (the skin or hair)
      ‘gently massage the cream on to your face’
      • ‘Continual aching muscles can also be eased by mixing six drops each of eucalyptus and lavender oil together and then massaging the oil blend into the painful area.’
      • ‘Some natural practitioners recommend massaging the oil into affected fingers and toes to improve blood flow, as well.’
      • ‘Mia unscrewed the top and began to massage the lotion into her skin until she felt soft and smooth.’
      • ‘Spitting a bit into his palm, he grabbed gently at his hair massaging the gel-like substance into his sensitive scalp.’
      • ‘She massaged her shampoo into her hair and scalp until it created a thick, rich foam.’
      • ‘To use the conditioning oil, wet hair thoroughly then massage the oil well into scalp and hair with your fingertips for about two minutes.’
      • ‘She kept the grey hair covered, massaged age-defying moisturizers into her skin, and met with her personal fitness trainer twice a week.’
      • ‘Do not rub or massage the ointment into the skin; just spread in a thin, even layer, covering an area of the same size each time it is applied.’
      • ‘To apply the oil to your scars, massage it into the skin with your fingers, using either rotational movements or in an upwards direction.’
      • ‘Unwrap, wipe off the salt and massage any excess oil into your feet.’
      • ‘After the therapist had finished massaging the oils into her skin, Josephine looked in the mirror to find that the acne she had suffered from most of her adult life had miraculously disappeared.’
      • ‘If you visit an aromatherapist, he or she will probably massage oils into your skin.’
      • ‘I finished by massaging a little oil into her scalp.’
      • ‘First, warm either coconut or olive oil in a pan, then massage the oil into your hair.’
      • ‘They began to massage scented oils into his skin while another worked on cutting all his hair.’
      • ‘Dampen your hair with warm water and massage the avocado mixture into your hair.’
      • ‘Gently massage the moisturizer into facial skin with smooth upward strokes.’
      • ‘You should spend three minutes a day massaging the product into your skin, as this brings the blood to the surface, which helps boost the skin's immunity.’
      • ‘Add five to ten drops of pure lavender essential oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil (almond or olive) and massage it in to relieve headaches or muscular pain.’
      • ‘He rubbed it together and then massaged it into his hair.’
  • 2Manipulate (facts or figures) to give a more acceptable result.

    ‘the accounts had been massaged to suit the government’
    • ‘Senior managers had deliberately massaged the figures in order to meet targets.’
    • ‘Many companies massage their bottom line earnings per share figures following acquisitions.’
    • ‘I mean, how many people know that examinations have never been an exact science, and that results have always been massaged and fiddled to fit?’
    • ‘Jones, who massaged facts and refused to face questions, dodged responsibility to the last.’
    • ‘One suspects that at least some of the reason is that the unemployment figures are thereby massaged.’
    • ‘Crime figures, like any statistics, can be massaged to suit any occasion.’
    • ‘Naturally one has to stop short of suggesting that the BBC's figures have been massaged.’
    • ‘Firms massaged their profit figures upwards so as to discourage hostile takeover bids.’
    • ‘Did you misread it, or have they been massaging the record after the fact?’
    • ‘The two members take the view that this is all much of a variation on massaging figures and not so serious as to warrant dismissal.’
    • ‘It massages its figures by claiming that the organization has rehabilitated 1,000 schools.’
    • ‘In order to massage the statistics the definition of extremist criminal offences was changed.’
    • ‘Instead of spending money on youth centres, welfare and social services, they have cut state expenditure and massaged the figures.’
    • ‘The company wouldn't be attempting to massage its figures by including third-party shipments would it?’
    • ‘He said civil servants would have spotted any attempt to try to massage or rig that result.’
    • ‘I am worried though that his rebuttal after the fact contains some massaging, for fear of the ensuing explosion.’
    • ‘Company bosses have felt under pressure to massage figures for ever more spectacular results.’
    • ‘Coming back to the bill itself, I find that the figures have been massaged.’
    • ‘Market research is all about manipulation - massaging figures to meet your own ends.’
    • ‘Similar structures had been created to massage accounting numbers and inflate profits.’
    alter, tamper with, manipulate, doctor, falsify, juggle, fiddle with, tinker with, distort, change, rig, interfere with, misrepresent
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  • massage someone's ego

    • Flatter someone.

      ‘I chose a man who massaged my bruised ego’
      • ‘Why would they question their master, their life was good and cushy and as long as they massaged his ego they would continue to dine at the top table and drink the best rum.’
      • ‘The weights are there to help you sculpt your body, not to massage your ego.’
      • ‘If that massages your ego, think on this: on average, fifty percent of those other versions of you will be better than you.’
      • ‘What happens if the fans start taking it all for granted and forget to massage his ego?’
      • ‘Take away the desire for a challenge stuff, the only other reason I'm involved is to massage my ego.’
      • ‘And if he can't get up to that level, he'll go away, because none of us will be massaging his ego.’
      • ‘Psychological bullies must also have their quota of sycophants, always ready to massage the bully 's ego.’
      • ‘But his logic dissolves any sense that he is just massaging his ego.’
      • ‘Few things massage a worker 's ego like being praised in front of his peers.’
      • ‘If the client is too busy massaging his or her ego to hear what the artist has to say, trouble lies ahead.’
      • ‘Grant is self-centered and after ten years of massaging his ego, Dana is just about wiped out.’
      • ‘His wishes were granted, his teeth brushed, his ego massaged, his grapes peeled.’
      • ‘The machine happens to be extremely complimentary and massages your ego, which we all love.’
      • ‘These people just knew exactly what he wanted and massaged his ego continually.’
      • ‘And that's not all: the super thief is out to massage his ego and finally prove that he is the best thief in the world.’


Late 19th century: from French, from masser knead, treat with massage, probably from Portuguese amassar knead, from massa dough.