tip of the iceberg


Also found in: Dictionary, Acronyms.

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
References in periodicals archive ?
And that is just the tip of the iceberg for the March issue of Alaska Business Monthly.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg for InsureMe.
I'm hoping it's not just the tip of the iceberg,'' she told the budget panel.
This is the tip of the iceberg for city repairs," Margulies said.
Because Desjardins and Plattner incubated their experimentally infected potatoes for only six days, in contrast to the months potatoes typically sit in bags, "we're [probably] only looking at the tip of the iceberg," she says.
Routh also thinks the stock purchase could be just the tip of the iceberg.
This initial list of EPEAT-registered computers is just the tip of the iceberg," according to Jeff Omelchuck, Executive Director of the Green Electronics Council, which manages the EPEAT program.
Implantable MEMS pressure sensors for remote patient monitoring is a reality today, as is the use of silver nanoparticle-based coatings for infection control of anesthesiology catheters, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.
When Glendale police followed Frazier's crew back to a West Los Angeles house, a search warrant revealed that Glendale's equipment-theft reports were just the tip of the iceberg, Stokes said.
City Controller Laura Chick's discovery of massive waste and excess at that Department of Water and Power is only the tip of the iceberg.
We have a great product pipeline, and our smart phone version, which is compatible with the Motorola Q and the Treo 700w smart phones, is just the tip of the iceberg.
And the green power party is just the tip of the iceberg.
Today's regulations, such as the European Union's RoHS and WEEE, are just the tip of the iceberg, with multiple regulations across the world focusing on reducing the use of hazardous chemicals in electronics products, as well as improving the rate at which these products are recycled.