What does the idiom "Break the ice" mean?

Break the ice is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression Break the ice is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "Break the ice"


Break the ice is an idiom that means to do or say something to start communication in a group or conversation that is uncomfortable or awkward. It is because, when people are feeling uncomfortable, it is often like a wall of ice that separates them and needs to be broken for meaningful communication to take place.


The phrase “break the ice” has its origin in the literal sense. The idiom was first used during the 16th century when the open waters of the Baltic Sea were generally frozen during winter. People would break the thick layers of ice that had formed over the sea to clear a path for sailing ships to pass through. Over time, this phrase was used to refer to the act of breaking down barriers and opening a path for communication.


The phrase “break the ice” is often used as a way to start conversations and make people feel more comfortable. It can be used in both formal and informal settings, and is most useful when people are meeting for the first time or when the atmosphere of the gathering is somewhat tense. It is also commonly used when a group of people is trying to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

Example Sentences

  • I'm always so nervous when I meet new people, so I like to break the ice with a joke.
  • I'll try to break the ice and get everyone talking - it should help us come up with some interesting ideas.

The meanings of the words in the "Break the ice" idiom

The power of idioms transcends languages!

"Putting the cart before the horse" is an English idiom that means doing things in the wrong order. In Russian, the similar idiom is "Кладёт колесо впереди лошади," which translates to "Putting the cart before the horse." This idiom emphasizes the idea that doing things in the wrong order can lead to confusion and problems down the line.


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