Nov 2, 2018

Wordology, Break the Ice

It means to do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation going in a strained situation.

In the old days, commercial ships would often get stuck in frozen rivers during winter, so smaller ships called icebreakers would come to clear a path to shore by breaking the ice. During the 17th century, people began to use the phrase to mean "to reduce tension in a social situation."