ici·​cle | \ ˈī-ˌsi-kəl How to pronounce icicle (audio) \

Definition of icicle

1 : a pendent mass of ice formed by the freezing of dripping water
2 : an emotionally cold person
3 : a long narrow strip (as of foil) used to decorate a Christmas tree

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Did You Know?

Old English gicel, meaning icicle, became Middle English ikyl or ikel and later modern English ickle, which survives as a dialect word in Yorkshire, England. The word for ice in Old English is is, and in a manuscript of about the year 1000 we find Latin stiria, “icicle,” glossed, somewhat redundantly, as ises gicel, that is, “an icicle of ice.” Some 300 years later, in Middle English, this became the compound known today as icicle, which means precisely what it did 1000 years ago.

Examples of icicle in a Sentence

his wife is such an icicle you're lucky to get so much as a greeting from her
Recent Examples on the Web Select from a variety of decorative lighting options including incandescent, LED or novelty bulbs as well as icicle light strands, net lights and micro dots. oregonlive, "2020 holiday gift guide and decor trends: Home Depot starts Black Friday sales today with discounts on appliances to tools and real-looking Christmas trees," 6 Nov. 2020 The heartless old thing was killed when someone thrust an icicle through her heart. Sandra Dallas, The Denver Post, "Regional books: “Long Range,” “Getting New Mexico” and “Denver City Justice”," 23 Feb. 2020 During the winter, check out the Ice Castles, an awe-inspiring display of icicles. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "10 Best Weekend Getaways From Chicago," 3 June 2020 Looking for beauty in unexpected places is a creative reflex for Lindsey Adelman, the New York City lighting designer whose chandeliers have evoked comparisons to icicles, nights at the disco and heaps of post-season fishing tackle. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "Growing a French Wildflower Garden—On Your Own Walls," 30 May 2020 The 3-pound trigger breaks like a slim icicle and the recoil comes straight back, solid but not sharp. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "The 4 Coolest Rifles I’ve Ever Fired," 2 Mar. 2020 Lithium atoms have low surface mobility, meaning the ones that coalesce to form dendrites end up piling into each other, like the drips that form huge icicles on the corner of a house’s roof. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Potassium Metal Batteries Are Almost As Good As Lithium-Ion," 4 Mar. 2020 The tree appeared to be completely covered on one side with icicles, appearing like a wedding-cake with different tiers. Fox News, "Tree in Pennsylvania spotted covered in icicles amid wintry weather," 31 Jan. 2020 The reddish-brown siltstone, orange sandstone, and green clay stone are eroded into intricate swirls, icicles, cones, and rounded rec rooms. John Phillips, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Land Rover Defender 90 Goes Nowhere, Man," 24 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'icicle.' 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 icicle

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for icicle

Middle English isikel, from is ice + ikel icicle, from Old English gicel; akin to Old High German ihilla icicle, Middle Irish aig ice

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Time Traveler for icicle

Time Traveler

The first known use of icicle was in the 14th century

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Statistics for icicle

Last Updated

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Icicle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icicle. Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for icicle


How to pronounce icicle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of icicle

: a hanging piece of ice formed when water freezes as it drips down from something (such as a roof)


ici·​cle | \ ˈī-ˌsi-kəl How to pronounce icicle (audio) \

Kids Definition of icicle

: a hanging piece of ice formed from dripping water as it freezes

More from Merriam-Webster on icicle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for icicle

Nglish: Translation of icicle for Spanish Speakers

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