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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Opt for a totally different aesthetic with these icicle-like cascading lights that blink by sequence, like a meteor shower for your front door. Popular Science, "Twinkling lights to brighten up every space," 3 Jan. 2020 Workers are expected to start growing and harvesting icicles this month, with a target opening date in early January. Lori Rackl, chicagotribune.com, "Ice Castles headed back to Lake Geneva, Wis., but at a different address," 13 Nov. 2019 The red outside my window was the red of bricks, factory buildings alongside each train depot, icicles dangling from the edges of their slate roofs, the red of the factory chimneys from which no smoke rises. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Impeachment Hearings and the Coming Storm," 6 Dec. 2019 White icicle radishes and bags of spinach are delivered from Mueller Family Farm. Jack Healy, New York Times, "Farm Country Feeds America. But Just Try Buying Groceries There.," 5 Nov. 2019 Use multicolored strands along the gutter, and beneath that hand a string of icicle lights. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How To Hang Christmas Lights," 24 Oct. 2019 Conducted by Cornelius Meister, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester conjure Mr Abrahamsen’s unearthly sounds, his tinkling icicles and billowing snowstorms. The Economist, "A new retelling of “The Snow Queen” is aimed squarely at adults," 31 Dec. 2019 Ice Castles is a frozen attraction — now in its third year in Dillon — created by professional ice artists who build structures using hundreds of thousands of icicles. Stephanie Butzer, The Know, "Ice Castles opening this weekend, tickets go on sale Christmas Day," 24 Dec. 2019 Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Grand Island Ice Caves is known for its massive sandstone bluffs, which are dramatic in winter when lake water seeps into the crevices and caverns, forming ice curtains and icicles. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan in the spotlight: Presidential visit, new stamp, signs of Frankenmuth in Detroit," 14 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about icicle

Time Traveler for icicle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for icicle

Last Updated

3 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Icicle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/icicles. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on icicle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for icicle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with icicle

Spanish Central: Translation of icicle

Nglish: Translation of icicle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on icicle

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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