Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

(redirected from Dr Livingstone I presume)

Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

A humorous greeting. The phrase refers to Scottish explorer David Livingstone, who was presumed lost in Africa in the mid-19th century. When reporter H.M. Stanley finally located him, he supposedly greeted Livingstone with this now-famous phrase. You must be the gentleman I'm looking for—Doctor Livingstone, I presume?
See also: doctor

Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

Jocular You are who I think you are, are you not? Oh, there you are. Doctor Livingstone, I presume?
See also: doctor

Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

A 19th-century explorer named Dr. David Livingstone became something of a national hero through his articles and lectures about his adventures in Africa. In 1864, Livingstone led an expedition to discover the source of the Nile. When little to nothing was heard from or about Livingstone after many years, Europeans and Americans became concerned. In 1871, the publisher of the New York Herald hired Henry Stanley, a newspaper reporter, to find Livingstone. Heading a group of some two hundred men, Stanley headed into the African interior. After nearly eight months he found Livingstone in a small village on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. As Stanley described the encounter, “As I advanced slowly toward him I noticed he was pale, looked wearied . . . I would have embraced him, only, he being an Englishman, I did not know how he would receive me; so I . . . walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said, ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?' The phrase “‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” caught the public's fancy, and any number of would-be wits greeted friends with it until the phrase lost all traces of cleverness. But that never stopped people from continuing to use it long past the public's memory of who Livingstone or Stanley were.
See also: doctor
References in periodicals archive ?
Dr Sarah Worden, curator of the National Museum of Scotland's special exhibition, Dr Livingstone I Presume?, will reveal how David Livingstone has been a catalyst for new connections between Scotland and Africa today.
For such an accomplished explorer, Sir Henry will forever suffer the ignominy of being best remembered for uttering four rather dull words: "Dr Livingstone I presume?" The immortal greeting, and for some the ultimate expression of English reserve, was made at Ujiji in Central Africa 130 years ago this month, on 28 October 1871, at the culmination of a 2,400-km expedition to rescue Dr David Livingstone, who was lost on a trip to find the source of the Nile.