from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A tapering spike of ice formed by the freezing of dripping or falling water.
  • noun Informal An aloof or emotionally unresponsive person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A pendent mass of ice tapering downward to a point, formed by the freezing of drops of water or other liquid flowing down from the place of attachment.
  • noun In heraldry, same as goutte or drop, but reversed, with the point downward. Compare gutté reversed, under gutté.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A pendent, and usually conical, mass of ice, formed by freezing of dripping water.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A spear-shape of ice.

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

  • noun ice resembling a pendent spear, formed by the freezing of dripping water


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

[Middle English isikel : is, ice; see ice + ikel, icicle (from Old English gicel; see yeg- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English isykle, isikel, equivalent to ice +‎ ickle. Cognate with Low German Isjäkel, Ishekel ("icicle"), Dutch ijskegel ("icicle"), Danish dialectal jisegel ("icicle"), Norwegian isjukel ("icicle"). More at ice, ickle.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word icicle.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I like this word. It's all prickly-beautiful.

    February 24, 2009

  • IMO, "icicle" has the best set of alternate spellings I know of. Check out its etymological entry on this site. Not all the forms listed there are English, but almost all of them are recognizably the same word.

    June 10, 2009

  • "What importance do they attach to?", in the odd shorthand of railroad telegraphy. --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 24, 2013

  • Eavesdropper? (crossword puzzle clue/answer)

    April 20, 2013

  • in looking up more ice words , came across 5 pages of icicle variants

    Transactions of the American Philological Association, Volumes 24-26 1893

    February 8, 2017

  • If an icicle is like a stalactite, what then would a stalagmite be?

    December 18, 2017

  • Icicle, a portmanteau of ice and sickle.

    March 8, 2020