the tip of the iceberg

the tip of the iceberg

Meaning

  • to only know a very small part of the problem
  • to not have the full scope of an issue
  • to underestimate a problem
  • there may be a bigger, hidden issue

Example Sentences

  1. The manager-employee problems in this company are just the tip of the iceberg.
  2. What you know about the problems between your mother and I are only the tip of the iceberg.
  3. I am not in the state to disclose all these issues. What you know is the tip of the iceberg and for now, that will suffice.
  4. I had hoped that in their case the fight was not the tip of an iceberg, but I was wrong.
  5. Everything you know about the author’s life is just the tip of the iceberg.

Origin

Icebergs are infamous for being much bigger underneath the water than what is seen over its surface. This makes the situation dangerous for ships trying to access their navigation path around icebergs since a bigger mass that cannot be seen may hurt the ship and cause it to sink. ‘The Titanic‘ was one of such ships. This has led to a phrase which is now used as a metaphor for other things which only provides a fraction of the problem and may have issues hidden from the naked eye.

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