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glass ceiling

[glas see-ling] /ˈglæs ˈsi lɪŋ/
an upper limit to professional advancement that is imposed upon women, minorities, and other nondominant groups and is not readily perceived or openly acknowledged:
It’s more difficult for women of color to break through the glass ceiling.
Origin of glass ceiling
First recorded in 1980-85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for glass ceiling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Palms of all kinds filled it, whose trunks and tops often reached close up to the glass ceiling.

    Royal Highness Thomas Mann
  • Through the door you enter the garden, with its tiled floor, its glass ceiling, and its low brick retaining walls.

    The House in Good Taste

    Elsie de Wolfe
  • Evergreens are banked against the brick walls, and flat reliefs are hung just under the glass ceiling.

    The House in Good Taste

    Elsie de Wolfe
British Dictionary definitions for glass ceiling

glass ceiling

a situation in which progress, esp promotion, appears to be possible but restrictions or discrimination create a barrier that prevents it
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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glass ceiling in Culture

glass ceiling definition

An unacknowledged — and ultimately illegal — barrier to advancement, especially for women and people of color: “In many professions a woman cannot break through the glass ceiling to the upper level of management.” The term dates from the 1980s.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for glass ceiling

glass ceiling

noun phrase

A solid but invisible barrier against women's advancement in business and other institutions: Women could all stop wearing lipstick and blusher tomorrow, and I doubt it would help them break through the glass ceiling/ the sound of glass ceilings breaking as women empowered by the Clinton Administration rise to new positions of influence (1990+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with glass ceiling

glass ceiling

An unacknowledged discriminatory barrier to advancement, especially for women and minorities. For example, Harriet knew she'd never be promoted—she would never get through the glass ceiling. [ 1980s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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