the tip of the iceberg

noun phrase

Definition of the tip of the iceberg

: a small part of something (such as a problem) that is seen or known about when there is a much larger part that is not seen or known about The news is shocking, but we may find out that the stories we've heard so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

Learn More about the tip of the iceberg

Statistics for the tip of the iceberg

Cite this Entry

“The tip of the iceberg.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

Comments on the tip of the iceberg

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!