broke the ice


      • to initiate a conversation or interaction in a social setting
        To break the tension or awkwardness in a group by starting a conversation or activity that encourages people to interact with each other

      • to initiate a new venture or project
        To start something new or unfamiliar, often to make it easier for others to join in or participate

    Examples of broke the ice

    • After a awkward silence at the dinner party, John's jokes finally broke the ice and everyone laughed along.

      This idiom is used when someone does or says something to put people at ease, particularly in unfamiliar or uncomfortable social situations. When you break the ice, you create a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. In this example, John's jokes helped to ease the tension and make the other guests feel more at ease.

    • The coach's pre-game pep talk helped to break the ice between the team and the new player, who was initially nervous and unsure of her role.

      This idiom is also used to refer to situations other than social ones. In this instance, it's used to describe how a little encouragement or preparation can help people adjust and feel more comfortable in unfamiliar environments.

    • As soon as they hit the stage, the band knew they had broken the ice with the audience. The music and energy in the room was electric.

      This idiom can also be used to describe how music, art, or entertainment can break the ice between performers and their audience. When the ice is broken, there's a sense of connection and shared enthusiasm.

    • After a few drinks, the two strangers found themselves swaying and laughing, with the ice between them finally broken.

      This idiom is often associated with alcohol, as the effects of drinking can lower inhibitions and make people more sociable. In this example, the ice is broken as a result of the relaxed and carefree atmosphere brought about by a few drinks. However, it's important to remember that excessive drinking can lead to other issues, so it's best to use this idiom sparingly.

    • At the annual company retreat, the manager broke the ice by telling a funny anecdote from his college days, which immediately loosened up the stiff and reserved atmosphere in the room.

      The expression "broke the ice" is commonly used to describe the process of overcoming initial awkwardness or nervousness in social situations. In this context, the manager's joke helped to ease the tension and make everyone feel more comfortable around each other.

    • As soon as the new coworker arrived at the office, his outgoing personality and infectious smile broke the ice between him and the rest of the team, who had been feeling a bit disconnected since a recent round of layoffs.

      This example demonstrates how an individual's demeanor and actions can have a positive impact on a group dynamic, especially in situations where there is a sense of unease or uncertainty.

    • When my dates and I would first meet, I found it challenging to strike up a conversation. So I started bringing along a loaded deck of cards to teach a quick game of Blackjack, which served as a useful ice-breaking tool and helped to jumpstart our interactions.

      In this instance, the speaker is using a literal interpretation of the idiom by introducing a physical object (the deck of cards) to help initiate social connections. This tactic can be particularly useful in situations where there is a significant age, cultural, or language gap between two people.

    • After a long and grueling day of meetings, the team gathered for a casual dinner at a local restaurant. Initially, the conversation was strained and forced, but after a few rounds of impromptu karaoke, everyone's inhibitions melted away, and the evening ended up being a huge success.

      In this final example, the expression "broke the ice" is used to describe the transition from a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere to a more relaxed and engaging one. By introducing an entertaining and lighthearted activity, the team was able to let their hair down and connect in a more genuine and authentic way.


    The idiom "broke the ice" is commonly used to describe the act of initiating a conversation or interaction in a social setting to make people feel more comfortable. It can also be used to describe the act of starting a new venture or project, making it easier for others to join in. In both cases, the intention is to break the tension or awkwardness and create a more inviting atmosphere.

    The phrase is often used in casual or social settings, such as parties, meetings, or team-building activities, where the need to break the ice and encourage interaction is important. It can also be used in professional settings to describe the act of initiating a new project or endeavor.

    Origin of "broke the ice"

    The origin of the idiom "broke the ice" is believed to come from the literal act of breaking ice to clear a path for boats to travel through frozen waterways. This act of breaking the ice made it easier for boats to navigate and for others to follow in their path. Over time, the phrase became figurative, used to describe the act of initiating something to make it easier for others to join in. The idiom has been in use since at least the 16th century and continues to be a common expression in modern English. For example, "The host broke the ice by introducing a fun game for everyone to play."