Posts Tagged ‘origin’
Tip of the Iceberg
If something is said to be 'the tip of the iceberg' it means that something is only a small part of a much bigger problem. The 'tip of the iceberg' is the part of a problem that can be easily observed, but not the rest of it, which is hidden.
Example: The problems that you see here now are just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous disasters waiting to happen.
Origin: This idiom comes from the fact that only the tip of an iceberg can be seen and the rest of the iceberg, which is much larger, is underneath the water and cannot be seen.
Example: After she finished the story, I kept silent. "What's the matter, cat got your tongue?" she asked.
Did you know...? There are a few theories about where this expression came from. One theory is that it came from an ancient punishment of cutting out the tongues of liars and feeding them to cats! Another theory is that it came from the Middle Ages when witches were greatly feared and often put to death. It was believed that if you saw a witch, her cat would somehow "steal" or control your tongue so you couldn't report the sighting.