Also called carotid artery. either of the two large arteries, one on each side of the head, that carry blood to the head and that divide into an external branch supplying the neck, face, and other external parts, and an internal branch supplying the brain, eye, and other internal parts.
1543, "pertaining to the two great arteries of the neck," from Gk. karotides pl. of karotis, from karoun "plunge into sleep or stupor," since compression of these arteries was believed to cause unconsciousness (Galen).