break the ice
Make a start, pave the way, as in Newton's theories broke the ice for modern physics. This idiom alludes to breaking ice in a channel so that a ship can pass. [Early 1600s] Also see break ground.
Relax a tense or very formal situation, as in Someone at the conference table will have to break the ice. [Early 1600s]
Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.