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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

presume on (someone or something)

To take advantage of someone or something in a presumptuous, unwarranted, or unwelcome manner. I always try to give my students the benefit of the doubt, but those who would presume on my leniency will find themselves facing harsh punishments. I'm your brother, Tim, I want to help you—just don't presume on me, that's all. Thank you for your offer, but I wouldn't want to presume on your hospitality.
See also: on, presume
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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

presume (up)on someone or something

to take unwelcome advantage of someone or something. I didn't mean to seem to presume upon you. I apologize. I did not feel that you presumed on me.
See also: on, presume
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
The model was inspired by the influence of presumed influence theory (Gunther & Storey, 2003), which suggests that an individual's belief about media power on others can lead that person to project media influence onto others and to change his or her attitudes or behaviors accordingly.
A petition with more than 8200 names calling on MSPs to introduce presumed liability into civil law was also presented to MSPs.
However, there's not much evidence that presumed consent would be effective.
The majority of the identified and presumed victims over the three reference years are from EU Member States (61%), followed by victims from Africa (14%), Asia (6%) and Latin America (5%).
The doctrinal office translated the norms so as to "aid the pastors of the Catholic Church in their difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or, more generally, extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin," the cardinal wrote in a note dated December 2011.
Presumed consent can lead to abuse of the human body.
But with presumed consent in Wales not England, there must then follow a desperate attempt to ascertain which side of the border the deceased is from and whether it is legal to start extracting organs.
The second bill would legalize an "opt-out clause," which would an individual the right to remove themselves from the presumed consent system.
Gordon Brown's attempts to implement presumed consent in Great Britain received consistent media coverage.
The European Council announced, on 22 December 2009, that it has complied with judgments handed down by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in two symbolic cases for the defence of the rights of presumed terrorists in Europe.
TRANSPLANT experts have backed calls from a top north doctor to introduce a system of presumed consent for organ donation.
MP Sanjar Kadyraliev is presumed to have been shot from the Makarov pistol.
PRIME Minister Gordon Brown last month caused intense debate after giving backing to hospitals wanting to adopt a system of presumed consent for the removal of organs from dead patients.