One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Ornamentation executed in or consisting of ice, or having the appearance of ice; frosted work, (also) ice sculpture.
2Geology. The action of glaciers and ice sheets in eroding and shaping the landscape; the result of this. Now chiefly historical.
3Nautical. Navigation in ice; ice-breaking.
4Mountaineering. Climbing on icy surfaces; the techniques of such climbing.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Richard Savage (?1698–1743), poet and playwright. From ice + work.
ice work/ˈʌɪs wəːk/
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