Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Nautical A sturdy ship built for breaking a passage through icebound waters. Also called iceboat.
  • n. A protective pier or dock apron used as a buffer against floating ice.
  • n. Something done or said to relax an unduly formal atmosphere or situation.
  • n. A beginning; a start.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A ship designed to break through ice so that it, or other ships coming behind, can navigate on frozen seas.
  • n. A game, activity, humorous anecdote, etc., designed to relax a group of people to help them get to know each other.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. a ship with a reinforced bow and powerful engines designed to break up layers of ice on waterways and keep channels open for navigation.
  • n. A remark or action intended to relieve tension or reduce formality when initiating conversation or beginning a speech; it is often a humorous or light remark.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A structure of masonry or timber (as a pier or row of piles) for the protection of bridge-piers or of vessels in dock from moving ice.
  • n. An ice-boat for breaking channels through ice in a river or harbor.
  • n. The bowhead, or great polar whale, Balæna mysticetus: a whalers’ name.
  • n. A hand- or power-machine for breaking ice into small fragments for various uses.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a ship with a reinforced bow to break up ice and keep channels open for navigation
  • n. a beginning that relaxes a tense or formal atmosphere

Etymologies

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