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)
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 aesculapiusb: the emblem of a medical corps or a department of the armed services (as of the United States Army)
Illustration of CADUCEUS
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.