glass ceiling


Definition of glass ceiling

: an intangible barrier within a hierarchy that prevents women or minorities from obtaining upper-level positions

Examples of glass ceiling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Whether one or the other was the absolute first to break a glass ceiling could be open to debate. William Mcdonald, New York Times, "In a Year of Notable Deaths, a World of Women Who Shattered Ceilings," 26 Dec. 2019 In another, a prolific romance author discusses breaking the glass ceiling for black women in the genre. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The 50 Best Podcasts to Listen to Right Now," 20 Dec. 2019 Regis Jesuit’s Fran Belibi dazzled the nation with one-handed power dunks on the basketball court while Valley High School’s Angel Rios and Skyview High School’s Jasslyn Gallegos shattered wrestling’s glass ceiling. The Denver Post, "Colorado’s biggest stories of the past decade," 31 Dec. 2019 For every glass ceiling broken, however, there was an untold number of women who in reaching higher came up empty-handed. William Mcdonald, New York Times, "In a Year of Notable Deaths, a World of Women Who Shattered Ceilings," 26 Dec. 2019 The glass ceiling has long been talked about as the barrier keeping women from top roles in the workplace. Corilyn Shropshire,, "Women in the workplace: The glass ceiling may be breaking — but now the ‘broken rung’ blocks advancement," 18 Oct. 2019 Travelers here might think they’ve been transported back in time to a historic southern street, complete with benches and a large clock under period glass ceilings. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Airports in the U.S.: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 7 Oct. 2019 His words are the perfect summation of the vibe at Chanel for Spring, where the rooftops of Paris were created under the soaring vaulted glass ceiling of the Grand Palais. Vogue, "Raising the Roof at Chanel: A Story in Pictures," 1 Oct. 2019 As intact as the glass ceiling remains in much of corporate America, there are signs in this year’s list of some epic cracks. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "The Corporate Glass Ceiling Remains, But 2019 Has Seen Some Epic Cracks," 23 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glass ceiling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of glass ceiling

1984, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for glass ceiling

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The first known use of glass ceiling was in 1984

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Statistics for glass ceiling

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Glass ceiling.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for glass ceiling

glass ceiling


English Language Learners Definition of glass ceiling

: an unfair system or set of attitudes that prevents some people (such as women or people of a certain race) from getting the most powerful jobs

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glass ceiling

Comments on glass ceiling

What made you want to look up glass ceiling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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