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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 ?
No to presuming someone else is speaking for the victim, or survivor, and thus not contacting the victim, or survivor, on your own
No to presuming the victim, or survivor, should be the educator, your educator
No to presuming that if someone had trouble with someone at a reading that they would want someone from your organization to intervene on their behalf, that they would trust you
No to presuming that the Poetry Project is a legacy institution above discussion
No to men presuming they should just hang back because this is not a men's issue
No to presuming that what the victim, or survivor, wants is necessarily right for the community
No to presuming that if the victim, or survivor, said it was okay or nothing should be done, that it was ok and nothing should be done
No to presuming that everyone who is writing this is white, privileged, and cisgender
No to shaming a community for dealing with this stuff and presuming some other community doesn't have to deal with it