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[kuh-doo-see-uh s, -syoos, -shuh s, -dyoo-] /kəˈdu si əs, -syus, -ʃəs, -ˈdyu-/
noun, plural caducei
[kuh-doo-see-ahy, -shee-ahy, -dyoo-] /kəˈdu siˌaɪ, -ʃiˌaɪ, -ˈdyu-/ (Show IPA)
Classical Mythology. the staff carried by Mercury as messenger of the gods.
a representation of this staff used as an emblem of the medical profession and as the insignia of the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Origin of caduceus
1585-95; < Latin, variant of cādūceum < Greek (Doric) kārȳ́keion herald's staff, equivalent to kārȳk- (stem of kârȳx) herald + -eion, neuter of -eios adj. suffix
Related forms
caducean, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for caduceus


noun (pl) -cei (-sɪˌaɪ)
(classical myth) a staff entwined with two serpents and bearing a pair of wings at the top, carried by Hermes (Mercury) as messenger of the gods
an insignia resembling this staff used as an emblem of the medical profession Compare staff of Aesculapius
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, from Doric Greek karukeion, from karux herald
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
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Word Origin and History for caduceus

1590s, from Latin caduceus, alteration of Doric Greek karykeion "herald's staff," from karyx (genitive karykos) "a herald," from PIE *karu-, from root *kar- "to praise loudly, extol" (cf. Sanskrit carkarti "mentions with praise," Old English hreð "fame, glory"). Token of a peaceful embassy; originally an olive branch. Especially the wand carried by Mercury, messenger of the gods, usually represented with two serpents twined round it.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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caduceus in Medicine

caduceus ca·du·ce·us (kə-dōō'sē-əs, -shəs, -dyōō'-)
n. pl. ca·du·ce·i (-sē-ī')

  1. A winged staff with two serpents twined around it, carried by Hermes.

  2. An insignia modeled on Hermes' staff and used as the symbol of the medical profession.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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