See more synonyms for iceberg on
  1. a large floating mass of ice, detached from a glacier and carried out to sea.
  2. Informal. an emotionally cold person.
  3. Australian Informal. a person who swims or surfs regularly in winter.
  1. tip of the iceberg, the first hint or revelation of something larger or more complex: The new evidence in the case is just the tip of the iceberg.

Origin of iceberg

1765–75; half Anglicization, half adoption of Dutch ijsberg ice mountain; cognate with German Eisberg, Swedish isberg Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for iceberg


  1. a large mass of ice floating in the sea, esp a mass that has broken off a polar glacier
  2. tip of the iceberg the small visible part of something, esp a problem or difficulty, that is much larger
  3. slang, mainly US a person considered to have a cold or reserved manner

Word Origin for iceberg

C18: probably part translation of Middle Dutch ijsberg ice mountain; compare Norwegian isberg
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

Word Origin and History for iceberg

1774, partial loan-translation of Dutch ijsberg, literally "ice mountain," from ijs "ice" (see ice (n.)) + berg "mountain" (see barrow (n.2)). An earlier term was sea-hill (1690s). Phrase tip of the iceberg, in a figurative sense, first recorded 1962. Iceberg lettuce attested from 1893.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

iceberg in Science


  1. A massive body of floating ice that has broken away from a glacier or ice field. Most of an iceberg lies underwater, but because ice is not as dense as water, about one ninth of it remains above the surface.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

iceberg in Culture


A large piece of ice that has broken away from a glacier at the shore and floated out to sea.


Most of the ice in an iceberg is underwater, leaving only the “tip of the iceberg” visible — a fact that is often alluded to in discussions of subjects in which the most important aspects are hidden from view.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.