noun \kə-ˈdü-sē-əs, -ˈdyü-, -shəs\
plural ca·du·cei\-sē-ˌī\

Definition of CADUCEUS

:  the symbolic staff of a herald; specifically :  a representation of a staff with two entwined snakes and two wings at the top
:  an insignia bearing a caduceus and symbolizing a physician

Illustration of CADUCEUS

Origin of CADUCEUS

Latin, modification of Greek karykeion, from karyx, kēryx herald; akin to Sanskrit kāru singer
First Known Use: 1577


noun \kə-ˈd(y)ü-sē-əs, -shəs\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural ca·du·cei \-sē-ˌī\

Medical Definition of CADUCEUS

: a medical insignia bearing a representation of a staff with two entwined snakes and two wings at the top: a : one of the symbols of a physician—compare staff of aesculapius b : the emblem of a medical corps or a department of the armed services (as of the United States Army)

Illustration of CADUCEUS


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Staff carried by Hermes as a symbol of peace. It served as a badge of protection for ancient Greek and Roman heralds and ambassadors. It was originally depicted as a rod or olive branch ending in two shoots and decorated with garlands or ribbons; in later iconography the garlands became two snakes and a pair of wings was attached to the staff to represent Hermes' speed. The caduceus was adopted as a symbol of physicians because of its similarity to the staff of Asclepius.


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