break the ice


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break the ice

To do something as a means of reducing or eliminating shyness, awkward tension, or unfamiliarity. I was so nervous about meeting Samantha's parents for the first time, but her dad immediately broke the ice by asking about my car, and everything went great after that. Everyone was deathly silent after John went ballistic and left the meeting. I tried breaking the ice with a joke, but it didn't help.
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break the ice

 
1. Fig. to attempt to become friends with someone. He tried to break the ice, but she was a little cold. A nice smile does a lot to break the ice.
2. Fig. to initiate social interchanges and conversation; to get something started. It's hard to break the ice at formal events. Sally broke the ice at the auction by bidding $20,000 for the painting.
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break the ice

1. Make a start, pave the way, as in Newton's theories broke the ice for modern physics. This idiom alludes to breaking ice in a channel so that a ship can pass. [Early 1600s] Also see break ground.
2. Relax a tense or very formal situation, as in Someone at the conference table will have to break the ice. [Early 1600s]
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break the ice

COMMON If a person, event or activity breaks the ice, they make people feel more relaxed and comfortable in a social situation. This exercise is usually good fun and can help break the ice for a new, and perhaps rather anxious, group. I started off by remarking that it seemed natural to be back in Madison Square Garden again. That broke the ice and from then on all went well. Note: An ice-breaker is something that you say or do to break the ice. This presentation was a good ice-breaker. A few laughs go a long way toward making a potential client comfortable. Note: An ice-breaking comment or action is one that breaks the ice. Graham's breakfast-time phone call to David was an ice-breaking exercise. Note: This refers to the need to break the ice around a ship before it is able to sail.
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break the ice

do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation started at the start of a party or when people meet for the first time.
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ˌbreak the ˈice

make a social situation more informal and relaxed, especially at the beginning of a meeting, party, etc: If you serve drinks as soon as they arrive it will help to break the ice. ▶ an ˈice-breaker noun: James told a very funny joke, which was a good ice-breaker.
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break the ice

1. tv. to be the first one to do something. No one wants to break the ice. I guess I will be first.
2. tv. to attempt to become friends with someone. A nice smile does a lot to break the ice.
See also: break, ice

break the ice

1. To make a start.
2. To relax a tense or unduly formal atmosphere or social situation.
See also: break, ice
References in periodicals archive ?
All the while, they kept one eye on their children and on the Easter bunny from America who stopped by their local park to break the ice a little.
Using soap storylines is just one way for parents to break the ice and talk about sex with their adolescents, says Parentline Plus.
In the beginning, they think I'm a bigger force than I am, and they wait for me to break the ice,'' he said.
Pets command a multi-billion dollar sector of our economy and help break the ice for prospective dates.
They use a variety of tools to break the ice to get to the fruit including their hands, feet, branches and their climbing frames.
A poll of 1,500 office staff found that trying to break the ice by chatting to people at parties could have disastrous results.
Luis and Cobi are going to break the ice and start scoring again.
The program recommends strategies to break the ice, develop rapport and successfully get phone numbers and dates.
RYAN Tubridy has revealed he will break the ice with Queen Elizabeth by joking about the sporting rivalry between Ireland and England.
I felt good to break the ice and now I'm ready for some more.
No couple wants to be the first ones on the floor, so we provide a social dance host whose job it is to break the ice and also to dance with the single women.
Despite being weighed down by a paving stone, the sack still didn't break the ice.
Once we demonstrate that a full-size system works, it will sort of break the ice,'' said Johnson, the MWD program manager.
The guide also suggests that moaning about the weather or sharing a cuppa is a good way to break the ice.
WE revealed yesterday that Britney is going to appear as a super hero cartoon character in the video for her new single Break The Ice out on April 14.