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

Each Superior Glass Apartment comes equipped with a living area, a mini-kitchen, an upstairs loft with prime-time Aurora Borealis-viewing glass ceilings, a private bathroom, and its own private outdoor hot spa and sauna. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "The Snowman Glass Resort Is the Winter Vacation of Your Dreams," 20 Feb. 2019 There is a glass ceiling over UCF no matter the chaos in the other conferences. Ralph D. Russo, The Seattle Times, "For 3rd week, ‘Bama, Clemson, ND, Mich top CFP; UCF’s path," 21 Nov. 2018 Statistics about glass ceilings and lower wages for women. Rebecca Swanson, Woman's Day, "Why I Stopped Being So Nice All the Time," 17 June 2016 Yet the left usually sees a qualified female candidate, and especially somebody who's already been confirmed with 55 votes, as someone who would be, yet again, breaking the glass ceiling. Fox News, "Democrats target SCOTUS candidate Amy Coney Barrett," 6 July 2018 In last year’s midterms, women candidates crushed glass ceilings, marking historic victories across America. Rebecca Nelson, Marie Claire, "2019's Barrier-Breaking Politicians Get to Work," 3 Jan. 2019 The competition, which began with bathing costumes in Atlantic City in 1920, has struggled to stay relevant in recent decades as women have gained some ground in terms of equality, moving into the workforce and chipping away at the glass ceiling. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Miss America made a welcome change. But let's not pretend pageants are the root of the problem.," 5 June 2018 Aside from the empowering imagery (at one point, Grande-as-God is shown literally breaking the glass ceiling with a hammer) and the constantly changing hair and makeup, the real scene stealer is the body paint. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Makeup Artists Are Recreating Ariana Grande's "God Is a Woman" Body Paint Look," 19 July 2018 Bee isn't the first female late-night host: Joan Rivers and then Chelsea Handler helped break that glass ceiling. Lorraine Berry, Marie Claire, "How 'Full Frontal with Samantha Bee' Came into Its Own," 10 May 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of glass ceiling

1984, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about glass ceiling

Statistics for glass ceiling

Last Updated

5 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glass ceiling

The first known use of glass ceiling was in 1984

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on glass ceiling

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).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!