black swan


Colloquial term for any extremely rare event. The term was popularized by a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, entitled "The Black Swan", and was based on a previous belief (now a misconception) that all swans were white and that black swans did not exist. The term is frequently used in the finance and investing sectors to denote an event that is unexpected, and impossible to accurately predict.

Use black swan in a sentence

It was a black swan and that meant that it was rare and we would probably never see it again, for the rest of our lives.

​ Was this Helpful? YES  NO 3 people found this helpful.

The black swan that occurred was learned from so it would never be repeated which brought great joy to the company that survived it.

​ Was this Helpful? YES  NO 9 people found this helpful.

When Bernie Madoff was convicted of running a ponzi scheme and bilking millions of dollars from his investors, one of his most loyal clients was in utter disbelief and thought the whole event akin to a black swan.

​ Was this Helpful? YES  NO 2 people found this helpful.

Show more usage examples...

Browse Definitions by Letter: # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Black Monday Black Thursday