Motivation – Understanding surgeons’ intraoperative sensemaking and whether linguistic and descriptive choices reflect unconscious thought. Research approach – Analysis of surgeons’ sensemaking, using laparoscopic cholecystectomy operative reports of cases with and without bile duct injuries, examining for linguistic modifiers of uncertainty and description of irregular cues. Findings/Design – qualifiers of uncertainty and an increased number of irregular cues were more common in bile duct injury cases. Research Implications – These data suggest the unconscious mind detects aberrations whose significance cannot break through to conscious recognition. Originality/Value – Both complicated and uncomplicated cases were studied. The importance of linguistic qualifiers has not been previously studied in this domain. Take away message – descriptive and linguistic choices reflect unconscious thought.