Break the ice


      • to initiate a conversation or interaction
        To start a conversation or interaction with someone in a friendly or lighthearted manner, in order to make them feel more comfortable and at ease.

      • to ease tension or awkwardness
        To use a lighthearted or humorous remark or action to alleviate any discomfort or tension in a social situation, particularly when meeting someone for the first time.

      • to overcome initial barriers
        To take the first step in getting to know someone or building a relationship, usually by initiating a conversation or finding a common ground to connect on.

    Examples of Break the ice

    • During the team-building retreat, Sarah nervously approached the new guy, Mike, and said, "So, I heard you're our company's new marketing guru. Care to break the ice and share your ideas with us?"

      The idiom "break the ice" is used when trying to initiate conversation or ease tension in a social or professional situation where there is an awkwardness or unfamiliarity between the parties involved. Sarah used this idiom to make Mike feel more comfortable and open up to the team.Happy Hour!At the office bar, Jessica invited her introverted colleague, Alex, out for drinks after work. She said, "Hi, Alex! Happy hour, eh? I heard this place has great cocktails. Care to join me for a round and let's break the ice over a few drinks?"EXPLANATION: Here, Jessica merged another popular idiom, "happy hour", with "break the ice" to create a fun and inviting atmosphere for Alex, who is typically shy while socializing.Hold your horses!As the project deadlines loomed near, the project manager, Tom, got increasingly frustrated with the team's slow progress. One day, when the team asked him to explain the latest changes in the project plan, he said, "Okay, team. Hold your horses. Let me first walk you through the revised project milestones and how we plan to execute them."EXPLANATION: The phrase "hold your horses" is used to ask someone to be patient and wait for a while. Tom used this idiom to slow down his team, as he wanted them to efficiently process and understand the new project plan, rather than rushing through it.Morning glory!As the CEO of the company, James prided himself in being an early bird. One morning, in a team meeting, James declared, "Good morning, team! It's a beautiful morning, and I'm already a morning glory, as usual. Who's ready to have a productive day today?"EXPLANATION: The idiom "morning glory" is used to describe someone who wakes up early and starts their day full of energy and enthusiasm. James' use of this idiom portrayed himself as a charismatic leader, who led by example, urging his team to follow suit.Cut and dried!After days of deliberations, the product manager, Susan, presented her proposal for the new product launch to the board of directors. One director said, "Susan, your proposal seems cut and dried to me. I think we should discuss this in more detail before finalizing the plan."EXPLANATION: The phrase "cut and dried" is used to describe something that is simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. Here, the director used this idiom to express that the proposal seemed quite clear and required no further explanation.


    The idiom "break the ice" is commonly used to describe the act of initiating a conversation or interaction with someone. It can also refer to easing tension or awkwardness in a social situation, and overcoming initial barriers in building relationships. This phrase is often used in a positive and friendly context, and can be seen as a way to bridge the gap between two individuals.

    Origin of "Break the ice"

    The origin of the idiom "break the ice" can be traced back to the 16th century, when it was believed that ships could become trapped in ice due to the harsh winter conditions. In order to safely navigate through the ice and continue their journey, sailors would have to "break the ice" by using their ships to physically break apart the frozen water. This was seen as a difficult and challenging task, and the phrase eventually evolved to be used in a figurative sense to describe any difficult or uncomfortable situation.

    In the 17th century, the phrase began to be used in a social context, particularly in reference to breaking the initial awkwardness or tension when meeting new people. This could be seen as a metaphor for physically breaking through the ice to reach someone on the other side. Over time, the phrase became more commonly used in everyday language and has now become a popular idiom used in various situations and settings.