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

This is the only heavy icebreaker the United States has. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Seattle will be home port for new class of icebreakers," 17 June 2019 There is more infrastructure being built across the route and modern icebreakers are being added. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Russia’s Sovcomflot Says Arctic Sailings Will Become Routine," 5 June 2019 Located on the east coast of the Weddell Sea, on Antarctica’s Ekström Ice Shelf, the facility is reachable only by plane or icebreaker and only during the Antarctic summer, weather permitting. Esther Horvath, National Geographic, "Want to grow plants in space? Go to the coldest place on Earth.," 15 Mar. 2019 Image The Mackinaw, commissioned in 2006, is the largest American icebreaker on the Great Lakes. New York Times, "In the Great Lakes, They’re Battling Ice, and Time. Take a Look.," 18 Jan. 2018 The icebreaker’s sound is overwhelming and unrelenting, like a chain saw on a boulder. New York Times, "In the Great Lakes, They’re Battling Ice, and Time. Take a Look.," 18 Jan. 2018 The Soviet Union’s first nuclear surface ship was an icebreaker. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Is Planning a Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker," 25 June 2018 Today Russia has 41 icebreakers with at least 8 more on the way. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "Does the U.S. Stand a Chance Against Russia's Icebreakers?," 4 Apr. 2018 The app will suggest icebreakers to get the convo started. Kara Wahlgren, Seventeen, "The 7 Best Dating Apps for Teens," 13 Nov. 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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Dictionary Entries near icebreaker





ice calorimeter

ice candle

ice cap

Statistics for icebreaker

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for icebreaker

The first known use of icebreaker was in 1825

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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.


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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More from Merriam-Webster on icebreaker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with icebreaker

Spanish Central: Translation of icebreaker

Nglish: Translation of icebreaker for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about icebreaker

Comments on icebreaker

What made you want to look up icebreaker? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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