- 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
transitive verb-·eled or -·elled, -·el·ing or -·el·ling
- 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 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.