Definition of ice in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Frozen water, a brittle transparent crystalline solid:

    ‘she scraped the ice off the windscreen’
    ‘her hands were as cold as ice’
    • ‘When it comes to gauging the temperature, frozen blocks of ice clogging up your rod rings are as crystal clear an indicator as anyone could wish for.’
    • ‘It was mid-February, a frigid cold day where ice had frozen on the bus windows, and by the end of the ride you couldn't feel your toes.’
    • ‘It is a solid river of ice broken into huge blocks, thrust downwards by a glacier or very large Yeti.’
    • ‘By morning the water had frozen solid, encasing the scope in a block of ice.’
    • ‘Then the world became cold and lifeless, and froze into solid ice.’
    • ‘Eventually they learnt to leave a full bucket of water outdoors until it had frozen solid and then hollow out the block of ice.’
    • ‘It froze into solid, treacherous ice when the temperature dropped again at night.’
    • ‘The air was still, the rocks frosted and frozen and ice crystals decorated every boulder.’
    • ‘That way the mixture will freeze quicker, preventing ice from crystallizing and giving you a smoother product.’
    • ‘Chenu reached over and touched it, and sure enough, it was a solid block of ice.’
    • ‘In a matter of seconds, the toxarin was frozen into a solid block of ice.’
    • ‘If ice did not float, all bodies of water would freeze from the bottom up, becoming solid masses of ice and destroying all life in them.’
    • ‘A blue beam shot out of my armor and froze Floria in a solid block of ice.’
    • ‘At night, his hands and feet are cold as blocks of ice.’
    • ‘Now it's well established that at the poles they've got lots of solid ice, solid water in other words, but then close by [there are] these sand dunes.’
    • ‘For example, a solid substance like ice is composed of water molecules that are bound relatively close together and neatly ordered.’
    • ‘The crystallization process is somewhat similar to how water freezes and ice crystals form.’
    • ‘To keep food cool in summer we had an ice chest for which blocks of ice were transported from town.’
    • ‘Her foot broke through a patch of brittle ice to black frozen mud below.’
    • ‘It was crystallized and covered in a cover of solid ice.’
    frozen water
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sheet or layer of ice on the surface of water:
      ‘the ice beneath him gave way’
      • ‘All stillwaters were covered in a thick layer of ice and only those willing to try some Eskimo-style tactics could be found on the banks.’
      • ‘The ice rippled over the surface of the water, a thin layer that clung to the sides of Morgana's face and circled her wrist.’
      • ‘They went down to the mussel beds that were sheeted with ice.’
      • ‘A little lake stretched across part of it, covered in sheets of ice.’
      • ‘First of all the Arctic ice sheet is floating, it's a thin layer of ice.’
      • ‘Sheets of ice crusted the water, especially closer to the shore.’
      • ‘The surface of the canal was a thick layer of ice except where the water plunged over stone and concrete falls for a drop of about twenty feet.’
      • ‘When she felt her arm break the surface, felt it turn to a block of solid ice in the space of a second, she swam towards the cold.’
      • ‘It was the dead of winter and there was snow on the ground and sheets of ice on the Rhone.’
      • ‘Its mission was to monitor the changes in thickness of the polar ice sheets and sea ice.’
      • ‘A thick layer of ice encrusted the surface of the dark water.’
      • ‘The river groaned beneath the thick layer of ice.’
      • ‘In the winter, a thick sheet of ice covered the water and was a spectacular sight to see.’
      • ‘For countless days we raged across those dark northern seas, the rigging groaning under sheets of ice.’
      • ‘There was a thin layer of ice on the surface, and she realised that her knees were getting wet through the fabric of her dress.’
      • ‘With a layer of ice on top, the water beneath is less prone to freeze.’
      • ‘An Icelandic horse, capable of maintaining significant speed over lava fields and sheet ice, couldn't stay upright on asphalt.’
      • ‘Skaters were also having a splendid time in Victoria Park, which had been flooded, and was covered with a sheet of ice in grand condition.’
      • ‘Plowing through layers and layers of ice, the demon finally broke the surface.’
      • ‘Only at the planet's poles do the temperature and pressure let water exist, as ice, on the surface.’
      frozen water
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Complete absence of friendliness or warmth in manner or expression:
      ‘the ice in his voice was only to hide the pain’
      • ‘His voice was like ice, sending a chill through my body.’
      • ‘Her eyes were wide open and crystal clear, but instead of the warmth of lucidity, they burned with the ice of expressionlessness.’
      • ‘‘Get in the car,’ he said in a steel voice lined with ice, but at the same time as smooth as chocolate.’
      • ‘Cooper said his little speech with ice in his voice, but otherwise emotionless and calm.’
      • ‘The visitor's lips were twisted blue with cold, the voice was of splintered ice.’
      • ‘The second movement, the composer told me, should be played not expressively, but like ice.’
      • ‘His voice was like ice, and his eyes glared at them with their unsettling insensity.’
      • ‘The ice in his voice was unmistakable as he opened the door.’
      • ‘Her voice was like ice, and she walked on ahead, scarf lying on the ground, forgotten.’
      • ‘Her voice was like ice, and he could feel nothing but cold darkness within her.’
      • ‘He didn't want to know what made this ice hard woman shriek in such a manner.’
      • ‘He was pulled from a world of ice and hate into a world of warmth and confusion.’
      • ‘His voice had ice in it, but he didn't even look back, he just kept on going.’
      • ‘When next the gentleman spoke, it was with a voice of ice.’
      • ‘The ice in her voice curved Roman's into a charming grin.’
      • ‘‘There you have it,’ he said, his voice like ice as he handed the mirror back to Elder Time.’
      • ‘His mood is vastly improved from before, but I can still detect an edge of ice underneath his voice.’
      • ‘Aluryne's voice suddenly held ice, it shocked Fleiya and Lyken.’
      • ‘The ice in his voice didn't match the warmth in his eyes.’
      • ‘‘That was a long time ago,’ I said, my voice coming out like ice, my face as hard as stone.’
      coldness, coolness, frost, frostiness, iciness, chilliness, glaciality, frigidity, lack of warmth
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  • 2British An ice cream, ice lolly, or portion of water ice.

    • ‘Manfully, I choose from the small list of ices and sorbets a Trufito.’
    • ‘The ices at Corrado Costanzo in Noto, Sicily, are arguably the best you can find anywhere in the world.’
    • ‘An ice cream van which sold ices to fellow challengers during the 25-day trip also made it to the African destination.’
    • ‘Oh, and there's treacle tart or very creamy home-made ices for pudding.’
    • ‘On the ice cream front I managed to get by with only two tubs of vanilla ice, two of orange sorbet, one portion of rose, two of pear, and 500 ml of mango.’
    • ‘Try serving ices and sorbets in flower-studded ‘ice-bowls’.’
    • ‘Unwilling to tear ourselves away from the view, we spent another half-hour on the ice nougat with rum and raisin raspberry coulis.’
    • ‘Remember that frosty ice drink you loved as a child which left your tongue bright orange or blue?’
    • ‘You are really looking at water ices appearing in the 1660s, and cream ices appearing in the 18th century.’
    • ‘The apple sorbet is as refreshing an ice as you could hope to taste.’
    • ‘Water ices appeared in Europe in the 1660s and ices made with sweetened milk first appeared in Naples in 1664.’
    ice cream
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1North American A frozen mixture of fruit juice or of flavoured water and sugar.
      • ‘If you like the fragrance of mango and want your ice with more fruit than syrup, then this dish is a must on your first visit.’
      • ‘The menu also has milkshakes and fruit ices, but nobody ever seems to order them.’
      • ‘If you're still hungry after the oysters, prawns and shellfish, for dessert there are a dozen varieties of cake, plus ice cream and shaved ice.’
      • ‘Low-fat means sorbet, ices, frozen yogurt, sherbet, or low-fat ice cream.’
      • ‘A tray of miniature fruit ices appeared after dessert, along with mint truffles and slivers of candied ginger.’
      • ‘Don't pass up the chance to savour this crushed ice and fruit juice mix.’
      ice cream
      View synonyms
  • 3informal Diamonds.

    • ‘The pricey drink comes with just one piece of ice: a diamond.’


  • break the ice

    • Do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation going in a strained situation or when strangers meet.

      • ‘If you understand a culture, you can break the ice in conversation, make a joke, or construct a speech better.’
      • ‘Perhaps next time, we should break the ice and make proper conversation.’
      • ‘In an attempt to break the ice, I rack my brain to continue the conversation.’
      • ‘He had to break the ice before she would really engage in a conversation.’
      • ‘However, a smile and a ‘Bonjour’ was usually sufficient to break the ice in any conversation.’
      • ‘And so the audience laughed and that kind of broke the ice.’
      • ‘The bartender decided to break the ice and make a little conversation.’
      • ‘I offered, trying to keep the conversation to a minimum and break the ice at the same time.’
      • ‘I thought if I had one at home I could use it as a conversation piece, to break the ice at parties.’
      • ‘Although watching together broke the ice, the tension was still there.’
  • ice the puck

    • Shoot the puck from one's own half of the rink to the other end without it hitting the goal or being touched by a teammate, for which a face-off is awarded in one's own end.

      • ‘However, if a team ices the puck because of a botched pass, the linesman has the discretion to wave it off.’
      • ‘So this way the team who iced the puck would still have a fresh line out even before the play is blown dead.’
      • ‘They call offsides, offsides pass, icing the puck and handle all faceoffs but those at center ice.’
      • ‘We iced the puck when we didn't need to and created a faceoff at the other end, and they pulled their goalie.’
      • ‘Also, the team icing the puck is prohibited from changing players until after the next face-off.’
      • ‘The other rule will whistle shorthanded teams for icing the puck but will not prevent them from changing lines.’
      • ‘In addition, a team that is playing short-handed won't be allowed to ice the puck in either game.’
      • ‘The last gasp opportunity came when the Thrashers iced the puck with just 8.9 seconds left.’
      • ‘He missed a shot on the empty net from inside the Oilers’ blue-line, then iced the puck twice after that.’
      • ‘A team that ices the puck is no longer permitted a line change prior to the face off.’
  • on ice

    • 1(of wine or food) kept chilled by being surrounded by ice:

      ‘the champagne was already on ice’
      • ‘We have the champagne on ice and are ready to pay out the prize, so I'd encourage everyone to check their tickets.’
      • ‘Spoon some lobster noodles in a bowl that is chilled on ice.’
      • ‘He had hired a gleaming limousine, saved up for the £1,300 diamond ring and ordered the champagne to be put on ice.’
      • ‘The samples were heated for 6-7 min, then chilled on ice, and centrifuged.’
      • ‘In anticipation of victory the bubbly stuff was already on ice.’
      • ‘Andy, the perfect host, had arranged for several buckets of champagne to be waiting on ice for us in the interval bar.’
      • ‘On arrival, there's champagne on ice and an artily cut fruit platter.’
      • ‘But it was the champions-elect that were sent home in defeat, the champagne, for now at least, chilling on ice.’
      • ‘Will the stars have to go without hair dryers and champagne on ice?’
      • ‘Should it emerge that Terem was not an isolated incident, no-one need put any champagne on ice before next Friday.’
      1. 1.1(especially of a plan or proposal) held in reserve for future consideration:
        ‘the recommendation was put on ice’
        • ‘However, the plan was put on ice after a study showed that a third network was not economically feasible.’
        • ‘So the plan has been put on ice until the society can convince them that it is safe.’
        • ‘Plans for a lavish Christmas wedding have been put on ice while the couple take stock of their 15-month relationship.’
        • ‘Initially, it was hoped the family would jet off to the States this summer but the gruelling chemotherapy sessions have put plans on ice.’
        • ‘Mr Wicks said putting the plans on ice would cut down the overall cost of the massive engineering scheme by an estimated £220m.’
        • ‘‘They will be kept on ice for future use,’ I replied.’
        • ‘Early in March, Genesis Energy put plans on ice for two coal-fired power stations in Huntly.’
        • ‘The European partnership, meanwhile, is on ice and likely to remain so.’
        • ‘Put bad food habits on ice with these tips to revamp your refrigerator.’
        • ‘Two planning applications have had to be put on ice after a council failed to tell people about a crucial meeting.’
        in abeyance, pending, ongoing, hanging fire, in the balance
        in suspension, in a state of suspension, suspended, put to one side, in a state of uncertainty, in limbo, in no man's land, betwixt and between
        deferred, postponed, put off
        awaiting attention, awaiting decision, awaiting action, unattended to, outstanding, unfinished, incomplete
        unresolved, undetermined, undecided, unsettled, unconcluded, uncertain
        on the back burner, in cold storage
        View synonyms
    • 2(of an entertainment) performed by skaters:

      ‘Dick Whittington on Ice’
      • ‘And during the shoot in Norway, John risked his life by performing a series of extreme stunts on ice.’
      • ‘I admire the skill and dedication of the athletes who perform on ice and snow, and I'll be a faithful viewer of this year's Games.’
      • ‘In 1973, at the age of 9, Nina Ananiashvili performed on ice an adaptation of Michel Fokine's solo The Dying Swan.’
      • ‘Everyone has watched accomplished skaters spin on ice.’
      • ‘The floor is painted in whirls of dusty white, so we seem to be viewing a performance on ice.’
      • ‘Intriguingly, the director chose to re-enact the story on ice, employing top figure skaters from eastern Europe.’
      • ‘It would be a unique event as Indians for the first time would get to watch white bear performing on ice.’
  • on thin ice

    • In a precarious or risky situation:

      ‘you're skating on thin ice’
      • ‘When you deal with this subject you skate on thin ice.’
      • ‘The young bachelor was treading on thin ice after showing up two and a half hours late.’
      • ‘I'm already treading on thin ice because of my out-spokenness.’
      • ‘Lea knew for some time she was on thin ice but that didn't seem to stop her.’
      • ‘As far as her film career goes, Courtney is skating on thin ice.’
      • ‘He is on thin ice here, but he is smart enough, and gutsy enough to get away with it.’
      • ‘His reign has been very controversial and he is on thin ice already.’
      • ‘Like the rest of the field, Woods was swinging on thin ice, knowing that the slightest false step or slice of misfortune would draw blood.’
      • ‘Developers who want to build 71 houses on the site of Altrincham Ice Rink could be skating on thin ice.’
      • ‘The agencies are putting GM and Ford on thin ice with ratings just barely above junk bond status.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • ice over/up

    • Become covered or blocked with ice:

      ‘the wings iced over, forcing the pilot to dive’
      • ‘If the defrost timer fails, the freezer can ice up and stop cooling properly.’
      • ‘Because even as I speak the freezer is icing up nicely.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, it's suddenly become cold enough to ice up my stubble if I cycle fast enough.’
      • ‘Anna knew it was pointless to continue, since it was so cold that it would keep icing over, yet she could not stop.’
      • ‘Another standards consideration is that a very expensive regulator testing machine could ice up and break!’
      • ‘Freezing fog left it so heavily iced up, it was destined for disaster.’
      • ‘She could feel everything climbing to the top of her head, then stopping, icing over into one solid block.’
      • ‘From the F - 16, the crew could see that the windows of the Learjet had iced over.’
      • ‘My colour will drain, my body ice over and my eyes grow cloudy, until morning - sweet morning!’
      • ‘With the exception of a few duck-inhabited zones, it was all iced over.’
      freeze, freeze over, turn into ice, harden, solidify
      View synonyms


Old English īs, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ijs and German Eis.