icebreaker

noun
ice·​break·​er | \ ˈīs-ˌbrā-kər How to pronounce icebreaker (audio) \

Definition of icebreaker

1 : a ship equipped (as with a reinforced bow) to make and maintain a channel through ice
2 : something that is done or said to get through the first difficulties in starting a conversation or discussion Roughly half of all Americans are invested in the market these days, and stock holdings have replaced politics, weather and sports as the go-to conversational icebreaker.— Adam Bryant … she also pays particular attention to icebreakers that relax guests and get them rubbing elbows, such as a cruise up the Colorado River, where guests nibble on hors d'oeuvres and sip Fall Creek wines.— Steve Heimoff — see also break the ice at break entry 1

Examples of icebreaker in a Sentence

using an old joke as a conversational icebreaker
Recent Examples on the Web An icebreaker carrying scientists on a year-long international effort to study the high Arctic has returned to its home port in Germany carrying a wealth of data that will help researchers better predict climate change in the decades to come. Frank Jordans, Star Tribune, "Scientists return from Arctic with wealth of climate data," 12 Oct. 2020 The research vessel, known as the Nathaniel B. Palmer, is the flagship icebreaker in the U.S. Antarctic Program’s fleet of ships. Nora Mishanec, SFChronicle.com, "Antarctic Program’s flagship icebreaker makes rare appearance in San Francisco at Pier 17," 22 Sep. 2020 Exceptional sea-ice break up in early 2019 enabled the icebreaker to survey more than 2,000 square kilometers of sea floor at the glacier's ice front. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Antarctica's colossal Thwaites Glacier is melting fast -- and scientists may have discovered why," 9 Sep. 2020 The icebreaker’s limited internet is reserved for research purposes and quick email blasts only. Nora Mishanec, SFChronicle.com, "Antarctic Program’s flagship icebreaker makes rare appearance in San Francisco at Pier 17," 22 Sep. 2020 That icebreaker was part of a 176-yard rushing performance by Newport, highlighted by Mykel Martin, who ran for 139 yards in two second-half touchdowns to lead the Wildcats past Bishop Brossart. Alex Harrison, The Enquirer, "Week 3 high school football scores in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky," 12 Sep. 2020 But another main duty was that of an icebreaker helping to keep harbor channels open for shipping during the winter months. Frederick N. Rasmussen, baltimoresun.com, "The story behind Baltimore’s historic, city-owned tugboat that played many important roles in the city’s history," 10 Sep. 2020 Twin Otter aircraft and mapping the sea floor from the US Antarctic Program icebreaker RV Nathaniel B. Palmer. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Antarctica's colossal Thwaites Glacier is melting fast -- and scientists may have discovered why," 9 Sep. 2020 Next up, science teams led by the U.S. and U.K. will travel by air and icebreaker to West Antarctica’s marquee feature—the massive and infamously unstable Thwaites glacier—to do just that. Jen Schwartz, Scientific American, "Surrendering to Rising Seas," 1 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'icebreaker.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of icebreaker

1825, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for icebreaker

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The first known use of icebreaker was in 1825

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Statistics for icebreaker

Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Icebreaker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icebreaker. Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for icebreaker

icebreaker

noun
How to pronounce icebreaker (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of icebreaker

: a ship designed to clear a passage through ice
: something done or said to help people to relax and begin talking at a meeting, party, etc.

icebreaker

noun
ice·​break·​er | \ ˈīs-ˌbrā-kər How to pronounce icebreaker (audio) \

Kids Definition of icebreaker

1 : a ship equipped to make and keep open a channel through ice
2 : something said or done that helps people relax and begin talking in a social situation The party game was a good icebreaker.

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Comments on icebreaker

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