tip of the iceberg


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the tip of the iceberg

Only a small, often unrepresentative portion of something much larger or more complex that cannot yet be seen or understood. If congress doesn't vote to extend the debt limit, a government shutdown will be just the tip of the iceberg. The flooding is bad, but we're dealing with just the tip of the iceberg—a huge spate of environmental disasters are on the horizon because of climate change.
See also: iceberg, of, tip

tip of the iceberg

Fig. only the part of something that can be easily observed, but not the rest of it, which is hidden. (Referring to the fact that the majority of an iceberg is below the surface of the water.) The problems that you see here now are just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous disasters waiting to happen.
See also: iceberg, of, tip

tip of the iceberg

Superficial evidence of a much larger problem, as in Laying off a hundred workers is only the tip of the iceberg. This idiom alludes to the structure of an iceberg, most of whose bulk lies underwater. [Mid-1900s]
See also: iceberg, of, tip

the tip of the iceberg

or

the tip of an iceberg

COMMON
1. If something is the tip of the iceberg or the tip of an iceberg, it is a small part of a very large problem or a very serious situation. We get about 2,000 complaints every year and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Figures show that there have been 700 official burglaries throughout the area, but police believe this is the tip of the iceberg.
2. If something is the tip of the iceberg or the tip of an iceberg, it is a small part of something large. These surveys are only the tip of an iceberg of continuing study. Note: People often use an adjective before iceberg to show what sort of thing it is. These songs are just the tip of the creative iceberg. Note: Only a very small part of an iceberg is visible above the water. About nine-tenths of it is below the surface.
See also: iceberg, of, tip

tip of the iceberg

A small evident part or aspect of something largely hidden.
See also: iceberg, of, tip

tip of the iceberg, (only) the

A small and superficial manifestation of a much larger (and often worse) situation. Icebergs are large, floating masses of ice detached from a glacier and carried out to sea; the bulk of their mass is below the water’s surface. This metaphor dates from the mid-twentieth century. Michael Gilbert used it in The Etruscan Net (1969): “I think, to employ a well-known metaphor, that all we can see at the moment is the tip of the iceberg.”
See also: of, tip
References in periodicals archive ?
"What we are witnessing today is only the tip of the iceberg, and this is only what appears in the media," he said.
The recipe for discovering what is below the tip of the iceberg is as follows: Plant your committee with compost that is diverse and rich in character, make sure upper management "waters" it, and the company will reap the benefits of a safer and healthier workforce.
Melioidosis in India: the tip of the iceberg? Indian J Med Res.
"This award is just the tip of the iceberg of a $2.9 billion Air Force JTRS procurement effort," Broadaway said.
Lou Coletti, BETA Contractors Association, agrees with the legislative measures proposed by the city, but believes they are just the tip of the iceberg, targeting problems after they surface.
Identifying the syndrome is important because, like that tip of the iceberg, it represents a very serious, yet hidden, danger to your health.
Recent reports from the Dallas Morning News suggest that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg and that many more high school athletes across the country will be implicated in steroid abuse in the years to come.
Their previous works, Snailking and Godlike Snake, are just the tip of the iceberg compared to the holy mother of doom that piece of doomed brilliance offers.
Although they must be given, tests are just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, I am not convinced that we possess the national will to look below the surface at what is drawing student achievement down.
Gens Hellquist, executive director of the "gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community (GLBT)" at the university says that, "I think it's safe to say that the 5,500 deaths each year from homophobia are only the tip of the iceberg." As far as some people are concerned, being "homophobic" is tantamount to being a serial killer.
But the wounded soldiers who return from war are just the tip of the iceberg. Ninety percent of the casualties of modern warfare are civilians, and the effects of war linger for generations.
We agree and note that the observed inhibition of efflux transporter activity by the musks may be the tip of the iceberg. As with the musks, there may be many chemicals that by themselves are not toxic but similarly inhibit the efflux transporters and thereby expose the organism to normally excluded toxicants.
In the case of Ashley Bouder, this month's cover girl, the tip of the iceberg is her assured and joyous performances at New York City Ballet.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The same powerful mind control has apparently been applied to the entire western world, making us believe that nonsensical diet fads - as opposed to healthy eating and exercise - actually work
This heinous murder is just the tip of the iceberg. The Gambian people have been suffering from a culture of silence for years.