Definition of iceberg in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʌɪsbəːɡ/


A large floating mass of ice detached from a glacier or ice sheet and carried out to sea.
Example sentences
  • The environment in the Antarctic is magnificent with glaciers, icebergs and ice floes on a scale which is awe-inspiring.
  • Sea ice is frozen salt water, and when natural forces break it into pieces, the larger ones are called not icebergs but ice floes.
  • Water lapped at the edge of the ice-sheets, small icebergs floating off and melting in the warmer waters.


the tip of an (or the) iceberg

The small perceptible part of a much larger situation or problem that remains hidden: detected fraud is only the tip of the iceberg
More example sentences
  • These are real women, real situations and sadly, only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Yet they are the tip of an iceberg because most cases of child abuse remain unknown, with children suffering in silence.
  • This is just the tip of the iceberg, with many missing but not reported.


Late 18th century: from Dutch ijsberg, from ijs 'ice' + berg 'hill'.

  • The earliest meaning of iceberg in English was for a glacier which is seen from the sea as a hill. The term came in the late 18th century from Dutch ijsberg, from ijs ‘ice’ and berg ‘hill’. The expression the tip of the iceberg, ‘the small visible part of a larger problem that remains hidden’, is surprisingly recent, being recorded only from the 1950s.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ice|berg

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