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break the ice

Meaning: If you break the ice you say or do something to create a more relaxed atmosphere when meeting people for the first time.

For example:

  • What do you do in a new class to help break the ice and get students talking?

  • Knowing how to break the ice is one of those social skills that will come with experience and maturity.

Origin: Probably metaphorical, from the fact that ships called ice-breakers cut channels through ice floes to allow other ships to pass through.

Quick Quiz:

People will usually try to find a way to break the ice if they are with others they
  1. see every day
  2. meet in a class every week
  3. have never met before

Discuss: break the ice

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