"don't think zebras"

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 19 02:35:25 UTC 2010

More GB, with alternative search strings:

Medical Laboratory Technology, vol 28--date is accurate: Harvard
Medical School has these starting with vol. 28, which is tagged as

p. 339--reviewing an unknown (from the snippet) paper, the authors states:

> The author's final words are apt — "when you hear hoofbeats think of horses, not zebras" or alternatively common things most commonly occur.

Journal of Medical Education, vol 48, p. 1167 (date/volume match
confirmed, but text not verified) The snippet is a bit cryptic:

> ... the resident must still continue to think of all the possible disease ... is considered first; "if there are hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras. ...

Problem Solving in Clinical Medicine, p. 27

> And if you hear the galloping of hooves, think of horses, not zebras — unless you are in East Africa.

There are some other minor variations (not all prescriptive), but all
other pre-1980 citations mention doctors, in general, (as do most
post-1980 ones) save one which attributes the saying to an unnamed
"philosopher" (quotation marks in the original).

NOTE: citations not verified; I have not search any news archives

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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