cut the ice

cut the ice

To do something as a means of reducing or eliminating shyness, awkward tension, or unfamiliarity. A variant of the much more common expression, "break the ice." I was so nervous about meeting Samantha's parents for the first time, but her dad immediately told a great joke to cut the ice, and we all got on very well. Everyone was deathly silent after John went ballistic and left the meeting. I tried cutting the ice with a joke, but it didn't help.
See also: cut, ice
References in classic literature ?
In fact, I used to hear a great deal more at Bangor, from those French Canadians that came down to cut the ice, than I saw I should ever hear at that hotel.
This held water, and all summer it stood there, with the near-by soil draining into it, festering and stewing in the sun; and then, when winter came, somebody cut the ice on it, and sold it to the people of the city.
Once it measured 12 inches, we harnessed up the horse, hitched him to a rugged wooden sledge and drove down to the pond, where we used big saws to cut the ice into blocks.
The battle will be fierce to get the top marks fromthe judges, impress the coaches Torvill and Dean, and cut the ice with the viewers, who do the all important elimination votes.
The latter rose to prominence during the 2002 Winter Olympics, when its blades cut the ice at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex where figure skaters and speed skaters practice.
The two-day celebration should cut the ice with even casual fans, and provides a rare opportunity to see some former, current and future hockey greats up close and personal.