caduceus

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n caduceus an insignia used by the medical profession; modeled after the staff of Hermes
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The "caduceus" the classical medical symbol of two serpents wrapped around a staff comes from an ancient Greek legend in which snakes revealed the practice of medicine to human beings.
    • n Caduceus (Myth) The official staff or wand of Hermes or Mercury, the messenger of the gods. It was originally said to be a herald's staff of olive wood, but was afterwards fabled to have two serpents coiled about it, and two wings at the top.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n caduceus In classical mythology, the rod or wand borne by Hermes, or Mercury, as an ensign of authority, quality, and office. It was originally merely the Greek herald's staff, a plain rod entwined with fillets of wool. Later the fillets were changed to serpents; and in the conventional representations familiar at the present day the caduceus is often winged. The caduceus is a symbol of peace and prosperity, and in modern times figures as a symbol of commerce, Mercury being the god of commerce. The rod represents power; the serpents represent wisdom; and the two wings, diligence and activity. In heraldry it is blazoned as a staff having two serpents annodated about it, mutually respectant, and joined at the tails; it is a rare bearing.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Caduceus ka-dū′se-us (myth.) the rod carried by Mercury, the messenger of the gods—a wand surmounted with two wings and entwined by two serpents
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. caduceum, caduceus,; akin to Gr. a herald's wand, fr. herald
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L., akin to Gr. kērukeion, a herald's wand—kērux, a herald.

Usage

In literature:

In its completed shape, the lightning-wand is the caduceus, or rod of Hermes.
"Myths and Myth-Makers" by John Fiske
Wave thy smooth caduceus here, O'er an humble Auctioneer!
"The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 365" by Various
Now, Mercury, move your caduceus, and, in Jupiter's name, command silence.
"The Poetaster" by Ben Jonson
In front of the President is a cushion with the Caduceus, the Mace, and the Golden Cane.
"The Strand Magazine: Volume VII, Issue 37. January, 1894." by Edited by George Newnes
The day was fixed, and all in readiness, when somebody came and informed them that Jupiter's ape, bearing a caduceus, had been seen in the air.
"The Original Fables of La Fontaine" by Jean de la Fontaine
By this touch of my Caduceus I give thee power to see things as they are, and, among others, thyself.
"Dialogues of the Dead" by Lord Lyttelton
As messenger of the gods he wears the Petasus and Talaria, and bears in his hand the Caduceus or herald's staff.
"Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome" by E.M. Berens
Like Forth, the newcomer wore a white coat with the caduceus emblems.
"The Planet Savers" by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Thus the caduceus, purse, winged hat, and sandals are attributes of Mercury, the trampled dragon that of St. George.
"The New Gresham Encyclopedia. Vol. 1 Part 3" by Various
The central panel of marquetry shows, in life size, a cock, with the caduceus, a snake, a banner, and symbolical instruments.
"Chats on Old Furniture" by Arthur Hayden
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In news:

Hand holding money, over National Institutes of Health seal and caduceus (AP / CBS).
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