Wordy Wednesday – “Break the ice”

Break the ice – The Taming of the Shrew

Parties, online dating, meeting new friends, starting a new job….all of these experiences involve ‘breaking the ice.’ It can be very awkward when first meeting people you don’t know. ‘What am I going to say, what are they going to say, is anyone going to say anything’. I don’t envy those who suffer from social anxiety. This world can be tough and cruel especially when meeting people for the first time.

Most people in the modern day use standard topics to break the ice. “What do you do, where do you live, isn’t the weather great, do you have a large family????”… etc. These examples are just a few ways in which people find comfort in breaking the ice.

Shakespeare the clever man that he  is coined the term and it can be found here in The Taming of the Shrew.

ACT I. SCENE II. Padua. Before HORTENSIO’S house. (continued)

A brash young man named Petruchio, newly arrived in Padua, goes with his servant Grumio to see Hortensio, whom he knows from Verona. Grumio and Petruchio become embroiled in a comic misunderstanding at the door, but eventually Hortensio comes down to greet Petruchio and ask why he is in Padua.


What!this gentleman will out-talk us all.


Sir, give him head; I know he’ll prove a jade.


Hortensio, to what end are all these words?


Sir, let me be so bold as ask you, 

Did you yet ever see Baptista’s daughter?


No, sir, but hear I do that he hath two, 

The one as famous for a scolding tongue 

As is the other for beauteous modesty.


Sir, sir, the first’s for me; let her go by.


Yea, leave that labour to great Hercules, 

And let it be more than Alcides’ twelve.


Sir, understand you this of me, in sooth: 

The youngest daughter, whom you hearken for, 

Her father keeps from all access of suitors, 

And will not promise her to any man 

Until the elder sister first be wed; 

The younger then is free, and not before.


If it be so, sir, that you are the man 

Must stead us all, and me amongst the rest; 

And if you break the ice, and do this feat, 

Achieve the elder, set the younger free 

For our access, whose hap shall be to have her 

Will not so graceless be to be ingrate.

Here is a link of 10 ways you can break the ice. Enjoy!



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