idiom: to break the ice


For this blog entry, I want to write about the expression, “break the ice”. We use it when we want to talk about a situation in which we are meeting a new person or people for the first time and we do something in order to feel more comfortable with them. Here are some example sentences.

I’m going to tell a joke at the start of my speech to break the ice with the audience.

I feel really uncomfortable when meeting new people. What should I do to break the ice?

The teacher had everyone in the class play a game in order to break the ice.

A: I think a good way to break the ice with someone is to ask them a lot of questions.
B: I’m not so sure. I think that could make them feel even more uncomfortable.

This expression can be used to talk about many types of situations in which people are meeting for the first time: a person speaking in front of a large group, two people meeting for the first time on a blind date, a group of people meeting for the first time for a class or job situation, etc.

There are also various ways to break the ice: asking questions, telling jokes, telling a personal story, playing a game, etc.

In this expression, the “ice” represents the feeling of discomfort that comes with meeting new people for the first time. When we “break” that ice, we are removing the feeling of discomfort and then the relationship can begin in a better way.


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