TRIVIAL PURSUITS: What Does ‘Black Swan’ Event Mean and Why Is It Called That?

The novel coronavirus outbreak has been called a “black swan” event.

What does ‘black swan’ event mean, and why is it called that?

A ‘black swan’ is an event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult to predict.

The term ‘black swan’ originates from the fact that it was once believed that all swans are white because these were the only ones accounted for, but in 1697, the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh discovered black swans in Australia. This was an unexpected event and profoundly changed zoology.

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