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.
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