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By application of the metaphor that strangers are socially separated by ice.


  • (US, UK) IPA(key): /ˈbɹeɪk ði ˈaɪs/
  • (file)


break the ice (third-person singular simple present breaks the ice, present participle breaking the ice, simple past broke the ice, past participle broken the ice)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see break,‎ the,‎ ice.
  2. (idiomatic) To start to get to know people to avoid social awkwardness and formality.
    Including a few fun details in large group introductions can be a great way to break the ice.
  3. (idiomatic) To introduce conversation. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  4. To surmount initial difficulties; to overcome obstacles and make a beginning.

Derived termsEdit