break the ice
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By application of the metaphor that strangers are socially separated by ice.
- Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see break, the, ice.
- (idiomatic) To start to get to know people to avoid social awkwardness and formality.
- Including a few fun details in large group introductions can be a great way to break the ice.
- (idiomatic) To introduce conversation.
- c. 1590–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii], page 214:
- If it be so ſir, that you are the man Muſt ſteed us all, and me amongſt the reſt: And if you breake the ice and do this ſeeke, Atchieve the elder: ſet the yonger free, For our acceſſe, whose hap ſhall be to have her, will not so graceleſſe be, to be ingrate.
- To surmount initial difficulties; to overcome obstacles and make a beginning.
to start to get to know people, by avoiding awkwardness