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Monday, September 04, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Caduceus

The HM rating symbol (a caduceus).
Snakes on a one-dimensional plane

A caduceus is a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it. It may seem a bit odd to have a word for something like that, but it has become a common symbol of the medical profession. It originally comes from Greco-Roman legends about Mercury/Hermes, who carried such a device.

Snakes? Why did it have to be snakes? Not really sure. Originally, ribbons were wrapped around the staff. At some point the mythology changed to include snakes instead.

Caduceus is commonly and properly pronounced kah-doo-see-us, although there are a few different valid ways to pronounce it.

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