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Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A volunteer worker in a hospital.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A volunteer worker in a hospital or hospice.
  • n. One who cheers others up with their youthful exuberance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a volunteer worker in a hospital

Etymologies

From the resemblance of the volunteer's red and white striped uniform to a candy cane.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1944 US, due to red and white-striped jumpers worn by hospital volunteers, which resembled stick candy, originally a group of high school girls who volunteered as hospital workers at East Orange General Hospital. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
    noun
    Etymology: from the striped uniform worn suggesting the stripes on some sticks of candy
    Date: 1963
    : a teenage volunteer worker at a hospital

    February 3, 2008