Feb 12, 2013

Wordology, Breaking the Ice

Originally this phrase literally meant to break ice, like ice breaker ships that would make a path for other ships to follow.

During the late 17th century, the phrase took on the current meaning of forging a path through an awkward silence or awkward social situation.

About this time, ice-breaker also became common. It is a mechanism, such as a party game to break up socially awkward situations and to get people talking.