One of a race of giants associated with ice and cold.
As recounted in the Eddas and in skaldic verse, the progenitor of the ice giants was Ymir, a primordial being formed (according to one account) from droplets of condensed icy vapour; from his corpse the earth and all creation were subsequently fashioned.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Foreign Quarterly Review. After Old Icelandic hrím þursar (plural), lit. ‘frost giants’.