from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A herald's wand or staff, especially in ancient times.
- n. Greek Mythology A winged staff with two serpents twined around it, carried by Hermes.
- n. An insignia modeled on Hermes's staff and used as the symbol of the medical profession.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The official wand carried by a herald in ancient Greece and Rome, specifically the one carried in mythology by Hermes, the messenger of the gods, usually represented with two snakes twined around it.
- n. A symbol (☤) representing a staff with two snakes wrapped around it, used to indicate merchants and messengers, and also sometimes as a symbol of medicine.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. 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.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In classical mythology, the rod or wand borne by Hermes, or Mercury, as an ensign of authority, quality, and office.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. an insignia used by the medical profession; modeled after the staff of Hermes
Latin cādūceus, alteration of Greek dialectal kārūkeion, from kārūx, herald.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Via Latin cādūceus, cādūceum, adaptation of Doric Ancient Greek καρύκειον (karukeion, "herald’s wand or staff"). This and Attic Greek κηρύκειον (kērukeion) are derived from κῆρυξ (kērux, "herald, public messenger"). Related to κηρύσσω (kērussō, "I announce"). (Wiktionary)