What is the meaning of the expression "just the tip of the iceberg"?
(P. Habeeb Rahman, Madurai)
For most movie buffs, an iceberg is usually associated with one major event the sinking of the Titanic! The expression "just the tip of the iceberg" was in use long before the ill-fated ship went down. One of the characteristics of the iceberg is that most of it remains under water. Only a small portion of it remains above water; it's usually the tip that we see floating. In other words, there is more to an iceberg than meets the eye!
When you say that a problem or a situation is just the tip of the iceberg, what you mean is that the problem is much more serious than it appears to be. What you see is only a small part of a really major problem. Here are a few examples.
* The layoffs are only the tip of the iceberg. I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to close down the plant next year.
* The recent riots are just the tip of the iceberg.
* The small protests that we see now are only the tip of the iceberg. I have a feeling things are going to turn violent pretty soon.
Send this article to Friends by