- v. idiomatic To start to get to know people, by avoiding awkwardness.
“One morning, being left alone with him a few minutes in the parlour, I ventured to approach the window-recess -- which his table, chair, and desk consecrated as a kind of study -- and I was going to speak, though not very well knowing in what words to frame my inquiry -- for it is at all times difficult to break the ice of reserve glassing over such natures as his -- when he saved me the trouble by being the first to commence a dialogue.”
“I break the ice by asking if she voted for Christie Todd Whitman in the last New Jersey gubernatorial election.”
“In the evening went to J. B.'s to break the ice for them in commencing family-prayer, but he was out, so after some close conversation with his wife on the subject, we prayed together.”
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