glass ceiling


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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Her chapters on greed and lust and more apply to nervous breakdowns, break-room donuts and the unbreakable glass ceiling. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2023 New research shows that women who go freelance to expand their career options hit something akin to the glass ceiling. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 12 Apr. 2023 Meyers Drysdale doesn’t look at this endeavor as breaking through any sort of glass ceiling. Pat Graham, Chicago Tribune, 8 Mar. 2023 Twenty-six of them were Nepali of Sherpa descent, including Babu Chhiri, and Lhakpa wanted to shatter one more Himalayan glass ceiling. Adam Skolnick, New York Times, 31 Jan. 2023 Thanks for teaching me about the glass ceiling—and then showing me how to swing a hammer. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, 25 Mar. 2023 These works are hung from slender stainless steel rods attached to the steel framework of the Nasher’s glass ceiling. Dallas News, 14 Nov. 2022 Would any Black ballerina ever shatter ABT’s glass ceiling? Essence, 14 Nov. 2022 Teams that shatter the glass ceiling as the Orioles did last year by winning 31 more games than the previous season almost always take a step back the following year. Nathan Ruiz, Baltimore Sun, 30 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'glass ceiling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1984, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glass ceiling was in 1984

Dictionary Entries Near glass ceiling

Cite this Entry

“Glass ceiling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

glass ceiling

: an informal limit to how high a position women and minorities can earn in a company
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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