English Vocabulary Lesson # 157 – Tip of the iceberg (Idiom)

In this English speaking lesson, from Daily Video Vocabulary you will learn how to use the idiom ‘The tip of the iceberg’.  There are times you can notice or see a very small part of a huge problem, it is not entirely visible. But, that small portion enables you to imagine or anticipate how big or serious the issue could be.

The idiom ‘tip of the iceberg’ basically means the small part of a much larger situation or problem that remains hidden.

When only a part of something that can be easily observed, but not the rest of it, we say that the part is just the tip of the iceberg. If something is said to be ‘the tip of the iceberg’ it means that something is only a small part of a much bigger problem This idiom comes from the fact that only the tip of an iceberg can be seen and the rest of the iceberg, which is much larger, is underneath the water and cannot be seen. So when you use it for a situation, you mean that there is more to it than what can be seen or experienced. It is often used in the negative connotation.

For example, your friend has huge expenses to bear and many issues to handle. He has been fired from his job. This seems to be the tip of the iceberg as there are bigger problems he’s facing that you don’t even know of. The only problem you see him facing is his loss of job, but there are bigger hidden problems.


Example sentences for practice :

Example 01: The internet is huge. What you can find through search engines is just the tip of the iceberg.

Example 02: Her angry looks and rude replies are a tip of the iceberg of Vanessa’s arrogant nature.

Example 03: The recent terrorist and bomb attacks in different parts of the world seem to be the tip of the iceberg of the third world war.

Example 04: The layoffs are only the tip of the iceberg of the company’s poor financial status.

Example 05: The people named in the stock market scam are just the tip of the ice berg; many famous personalities are yet to follow.

Example 06: Piracy is a well organized and huge, banning a website or two is just the tip of the ice berg and all tech giants should unite to deal with it effectively.

Example 07: The problems that we see today with global warming are just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous disasters waiting to happen.

Example 08: After the party, the messy kitchen was the tip of the iceberg; the rest of the house was in a bigger mess.

Have you ever experienced a situation where you could only see the tip of the iceberg?

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