Medical Definition of Zebra
Zebra: In medicine, a very unlikely diagnostic possibility. It comes from an old saying used in teaching medical students about how to think logically in regard to the differential diagnosis: 'When you hear hoof beats, think of horses, not zebras.' For example, when someone develops a mild transient cough, a virus infection is the most logical and likely cause, and tuberculosis is a zebra.
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016
Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Need help identifying pills and medications?