icebreaker

noun
ice·​break·​er | \ˈīs-ˌbrā-kər \

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

The Soviet Union’s first surface ship was an icebreaker. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Is Planning a Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker," 25 June 2018 An icebreaker powered by nuclear energy would give Beijing access to the Arctic and its resources. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Is Planning a Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker," 25 June 2018 American icebreaker capability has been declining as other countries rev up. Adam Aton, Scientific American, "U.S. Still Lags Behind in Preparing for a Changing Arctic," 8 June 2018 The icebreaker was in the planning stages for three years and now will take an additional three years to build. Rosemary Mcclure, latimes.com, "Six more Ponant ships to be launched, all equipped with underwater lounges," 26 Mar. 2018 According to the World Nuclear Association, about 140 ships — mostly submarines, but also icebreakers and aircraft carriers – prowl the world's oceans. Author: Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Anchorage Daily News, "Russia says its sea-based nuclear power plant is safe. Critics call it a ‘Floating Chernobyl’ for the Arctic.," 2 May 2018 According to the World Nuclear Association, about 140 ships — mostly submarines, but also icebreakers and aircraft carriers — prowl the world's oceans. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "Russia says its sea-based nuclear power plant is safe. Critics call it a ‘Floating Chernobyl.’," 1 May 2018 Dirty Couple Game Awkward name syntax aside, this is a perfect early-relationship game—like an icebreaker for new couples. Rebecca Reid, Marie Claire, "I Tried 11 Sex Apps to Spice Up My Marriage," 11 July 2018 The United States, Russia and China are racing to put icebreakers into Arctic waters as rising temperatures uncover new shipping routes, resource deposits and fishing areas once covered by sea ice. Adam Aton, Scientific American, "Ships Threaten Arctic Marine Mammals," 3 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of icebreaker

1825, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about icebreaker

Share icebreaker

Dictionary Entries near icebreaker

icebone

icebound

icebox

icebreaker

ice calorimeter

ice candle

ice cap

Statistics for icebreaker

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for icebreaker

The first known use of icebreaker was in 1825

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for icebreaker

icebreaker

noun

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 \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!