- a hard, silver-white, malleable metallic chemical element, used extensively in alloys, batteries, and for plating because of its resistance to oxidation: symbol, Ni; at. no. 28
- ⌂ a U.S. or Canadian coin made of an alloy of nickel and copper and equal to 5 cents
Origin of nickelSwed: contr. (1754) by A. F. Cronstedt (1722-65), Swedish mineralogist ; from kopparnickel, niccolite ; from German kupfernickel, false copper (; from kupfer, copper + nickel, goblin, devil, pejorative contr. ; from Nikolaus, Nicholas, probably influenced, influence by nix: see nix): term used by German miners because the ore looks like copper but contains none: see cobalt
- Symbol Ni A silvery, hard, ductile, ferromagnetic metallic element used in corrosion-resistant alloys, stainless steel, catalysts for hydrogenation, and batteries, and for electroplating. Atomic number 28; atomic weight 58.69; melting point 1,455°C; boiling point 2,913°C; specific gravity 8.902; valence 0, 1, 2, 3. See Periodic Table.
- A coin of the United States or Canada worth five cents.
transitive verbnick·eled, nick·el·ing, nick·els or nick·elled or nick·el·ling
Origin of nickelSwedish, short for kopparnickel, niccolite, partial translation of German Kupfernickel : Kupfer, copper + Nickel, demon, rascal, from the deceptive copper color of the ore (from the name Nikolaus, Nicholas).
(countable and uncountable, plural nickels)
- (uncountable) A silvery elemental metal with an atomic number of 28 and symbol Ni.
- (US, Canada, countable) A coin worth 5 cents.
- (US slang, by extension) Five dollars.
- (US slang, by extension) Five hundred dollars.
- (US slang, sometimes the nickel or the hot nickel) Interstate 5, a highway that runs along the west coast of the United States.
- (slang) A playing card with the rank of five
- (US slang) A five-year prison sentence.
(third-person singular simple present nickels, present participle nickeling, simple past and past participle nickeled)
- To plate with nickel.
From Swedish nickel, an abbreviation of German kupfernickel (“a mineral containing copper and nickel"), from koppar (“copper") + Nikolaus (“the devil") due to the deceptive silver colour of the relatively valueless ore. Compare cobalt as related to kobolds.