MEANING: adjective: Tending to fall easily or before the usual time.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin caducus (falling), from cadere (to fall). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kad- (to fall), which is also the source of cadence, cascade, casualty, cadaver, chance, chute, accident, occident, decay, deciduous, recidivism, perchance, escheat, and casuistry. Earliest documented use: 1684.

CADUCEUS - symbol of the medical profession, actually a roundworm (typically Dracunculus medinensis) gradually wound around a stick to draw the nematode out of the wound intact (see also Guinea worm disease)

CAUCOUS - like a bunch of noisy, aggravating, corvids, hence the collective term "a murder of crows"

MADUCOUS - Father Ducous' wife