Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[ahys] /aɪs/
the solid form of water, produced by freezing; frozen water.
the frozen surface of a body of water.
any substance resembling frozen water:
camphor ice.
a frozen dessert made of sweetened water and fruit juice.
British. ice cream.
icing, as on a cake.
reserve; formality:
The ice of his manner betrayed his dislike of the new ambassador.
  1. a diamond or diamonds.
  2. protection money paid to the police by the operator of an illicit business.
  3. a fee that a ticket broker pays to a theater manager in order to receive a favorable allotment of tickets.
verb (used with object), iced, icing.
to cover with ice.
to change into ice; freeze.
to cool with ice, as a drink.
to cover (cake, sweet rolls, etc.) with icing; frost.
to refrigerate with ice, as air.
to make cold, as if with ice.
to preserve by placing on ice.
Ice Hockey. (especially in Canada) to put (a team) into formal play.
  1. to settle or seal; make sure of, as by signing a contract:
    We'll ice the deal tomorrow.
  2. to make (a business arrangement) more attractive by adding features or benefits:
    The star pitcher wouldn't sign his new contract until the team iced it with a big bonus.
  3. to kill, especially to murder:
    The mobsters threatened to ice him if he went to the police.
Sports Slang. to establish a winning score or insurmountable lead in or otherwise assure victory in (a game or contest):
Her second goal iced the game.
verb (used without object), iced, icing.
to change to ice; freeze:
The sherbet is icing in the refrigerator.
to be coated with ice (often followed by up):
The windshield has iced up.
of or made of ice:
ice shavings; an ice sculpture.
for holding ice and food or drink to be chilled:
an ice bucket; an ice chest.
on or done on the ice:
ice yachting.
break the ice,
  1. to succeed initially; make a beginning.
  2. to overcome reserve, awkwardness, or formality within a group, as in introducing persons:
    The chairman broke the ice with his warm and very amusing remarks.
cut no ice, Informal. to have no influence or importance; fail to impress:
Her father's position cuts no ice with me.
ice it, Slang. stop it; that's enough:
You've been complaining all day, so ice it.
ice the puck, Ice Hockey. to hit the puck to the far end of the rink, especially from the defensive area across the offensive area.
on ice, Informal.
  1. with a good chance of success or realization:
    Now that the contract is on ice we can begin operating again.
  2. out of activity, as in confinement or imprisonment.
  3. in a state of abeyance or readiness:
    Let's put that topic on ice for the moment.
on thin ice, in a precarious or delicate situation:
You may pass the course, but you're on thin ice right now.
Also, skating on thin ice.
Origin of ice
before 900; 1905-10 for def 8a; Middle English, Old English īs; cognate with German Eis, Old Norse īss
Related forms
iceless, adjective
icelike, adjective
reice, verb, reiced, reicing.
unice, verb (used with object), uniced, unicing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for break the ice


water in the solid state, formed by freezing liquid water related adjective glacial
a portion of ice cream
(slang) a diamond or diamonds
the field of play in ice hockey
(slang) a concentrated and highly potent form of methamphetamine with dangerous side effects
break the ice
  1. to relieve shyness, etc, esp between strangers
  2. to be the first of a group to do something
(informal) cut no ice, to fail to make an impression
on ice, in abeyance; pending
on thin ice, unsafe or unsafely; vulnerable or vulnerably
(NZ, informal) the Ice, Antarctica
often foll by up, over, etc. to form or cause to form ice; freeze
(transitive) to mix with ice or chill (a drink, etc)
(transitive) to cover (a cake, etc) with icing
(transitive) (US, slang) to kill
(mainly Canadian, in ice hockey)
  1. to shoot the puck from one end of the rink to the other
  2. to select which players will play in a game
Derived Forms
iceless, adjective
icelike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English īs; compare Old High German īs, Old Norse īss


abbreviation (in Britain)
Institution of Civil Engineers
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for break the ice



Old English is "ice" (also the name of the rune for -i-), from Proto-Germanic *isa- (cf. Old Norse iss, Old Frisian is, Dutch ijs, German Eis), with no certain cognates beyond Germanic, though possible relatives are Avestan aexa- "frost, ice," isu- "frosty, icy;" Afghan asai "frost." Slang meaning "diamonds" is attested from 1906.

Ice cube attested from 1904. Ice age attested from 1832. To break the ice "to make the first opening to any attempt" is from 1580s, metaphoric of making passages for boats by breaking up river ice though in modern use usually with implications of "cold reserve."



c.1400, ysen, "cover with ice," from ice (n.). Related: Iced; icing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
break the ice in Science
  1. A solid consisting of frozen water. Ice forms at or below a temperature of 0°C (32°F). Ice expands during the process of freezing, with the result that its density is lower than that of water.

  2. A solid form of a substance, especially of a substance that is a liquid or a gas at room temperature at sea level on Earth. The nuclei of many comets contain methane ice.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
break the ice in Culture

break the ice definition

To remove the tension at a first meeting, at the opening of a party, etc.: “That joke really broke the ice at the conference; we all relaxed afterward.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for break the ice

break the ice

verb phrase

To dissipate the sense of strain among people who do not know each other: I broke the ice by saying she looked like Charlemagne's mother (late 1500s+)



Excellent; fine; cool (1960s+ Cool talk)


  1. Diamonds; a diamond: a two-carat hunk of ice (1906+)
  2. Gems and jewelry in general: Gonna wear your ice? (1906+)
  3. Extra payment given for a desirable theater ticket: a slight fee, say $100 worth of tickets for $120. The $20 is the ''ice'' (1927+)
  4. Protection money; bribery; payoff: syndicate that paid out $1,000,000 in ice to the police (1948+)
  5. Methamphetamine crystals (1980s+ Narcotics)


  1. To make something certain; cinch, SEW something UP: They iced the game in the ninth with two more runs (1930s+)
  2. (also ice someone out) To ignore someone; snub; cut; cold shoulder: how women were ''iced'' by peers during corridor conversations/ I've had doors closed and I've been iced out (1836+)
  3. o defeat utterly; trounce; clobber: Nebraska iced Kentucky 55 to 16 (1960s+ Sports)
  4. To kill; off •Probably a shortening of put on ice: Ice a pig. Off a pig. That means kill a cop (1960s+ Underworld)

Related Terms

break the ice, cut no ice, green ice, on ice

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with break the ice

break the ice

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
Relax a tense or very formal situation, as in Someone at the conference table will have to break the ice. [ Early 1600s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for break the ice

Difficulty index for ice

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for break

Scrabble Words With Friends