Definition of caduceus in English:


See synonyms for caduceus on

nounplural noun caducei/-sēˌī/ /-SHēˌī/

  • 1An ancient Greek or Roman herald's wand, typically one with two serpents twined around it, carried by the messenger god Hermes or Mercury.

    ‘The drone is the idea of sound underneath the appearances, the dark emptiness that groans out of the fault, the opening, that the poet, now the mature, oracular Nobel Laureate, approaches with his caduceus.’
    • ‘Nearly all his works are signed with a caduceus (a herald's staff).’
    • ‘He looked up at the jamb and saw the caduceus, the serpent curled around a sword, and realized this was the firewall between the medical computer and the rest of the ship's systems.’
    • ‘For centuries this staff, known also as the caduceus, the winged staff of Hermes-Mercury, the messenger of the gods, is depicted with two entwining serpents and has been the symbol of the medical profession.’
    • ‘Mercury's caduceus is a wrought-iron trim on a herald's wand, his helmet wingless a metal bowl.’
    • ‘It would seem like the natural successor to the Eagle that appeared in Herod's symbol, that he had stamped on his coinage, which was the pagan caduceus, which depicted 2 serpents on a eagle winged stick.’
    • ‘The image also invokes the caduceus - snake entwined staff, symbol of Aesculapius, Greco-Roman god of medicine, and carried by Mercury.’
    • ‘The snake has an important place in human cultures all over the world, from the staff of the Greek Aesculapius (the father of medicine), the caduceus with its encircling snakes, to the all seeing snakes of Persian legend.’
    • ‘The caduceus is also the rod of healing and so Mercury is also the god of medicine, as had been Thoth before him.’
    • ‘The caduceus, a double spiral around a staff, is a symbol of the medical profession.’
    • ‘If you examine the cards you'll notice that the one with 8 hands and the caduceus around the genital region looks downward, the golden bronze figure with 2 arms looks centrally or straight at you at you.’
    • ‘Over the door of a handsome brick building dated 1937, beneath a clustered family group whose adult held a caduceus, the lintel bore this inscription.’
    • ‘This was the forerunner of the caduceus, the snake-entwined rod which is today the emblem of the medical profession.’
    • ‘Flanking the third looking glass are Mercury, god of trade and profit, identified by his caduceus and broad winged hat, and Euterpe, Muse of music, holding a flute.’
    • ‘Hermes used a magic rod, the caduceus, with which he practised magic and it was this caduceus, which gained him entry into the underworld.’
    • ‘He mentions the physical traits that Virgil elaborates - Mercury's characteristic caduceus and winged heels - and he adopts the same point of view for Mercury's flight.’
    baton, stick, staff, pole, bar, dowel, rod, stake
    1. 1.1A representation of this, traditionally associated with healing.
      ‘A somewhat similar symbol, the caduceus, a winged staff with two twined serpents, is frequently but incorrectly used as a medical emblem.’
      • ‘Only fragments of these stoves survive, including the tile in Plate I, from a stove he made for a doctor's house in Guebwiller, as the decorative caduceus indicates.’
      • ‘Fifty years have passed since Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA, and the double helix has replaced the caduceus as the symbol of scientific and medical progress.’



/kəˈdo͞oSH(ē)əs/ /kəˈduʃ(i)əs/ /kəˈdo͞osēəs/ /kəˈdusiəs/


Latin, from Doric Greek karukeion from Greek kērux ‘herald’.