[nik-uh l] /ˈnɪk əl/

Chemistry. a hard, silvery-white, ductile and malleable metallic element, allied to iron and cobalt, not readily oxidized: used chiefly in alloys, in electroplating, and as a catalyst in organic synthesis. Symbol: Ni; atomic weight: 58.71; atomic number: 28; specific gravity: 8.9 at 20°C.
a coin of the U.S., the 20th part of a dollar, equal to five cents.
a nickel coin of Canada, the 20th part of a dollar, equal to five cents.
verb (used with object), nickeled, nickeling or (especially British) nickelled, nickelling.
to cover or coat with nickel; nickel-plate.
Slang. costing or worth five dollars:
a nickel bag of heroin.
a malleable ductile silvery-white metallic element that is strong and corrosion-resistant, occurring principally in pentlandite and niccolite: used in alloys, esp in toughening steel, in electroplating, and as a catalyst in organic synthesis. Symbol: Ni; atomic no: 28; atomic wt: 58.6934; valency: 0, 1, 2, or 3; relative density: 8.902; melting pt: 1455°C; boiling pt: 2914°C
a US and Canadian coin and monetary unit worth five cents
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
(transitive) to plate with nickel

whitish metal element, 1755, coined in 1754 by Swedish mineralogist Axel von Cronstedt (1722-1765) from shortening of Swedish kopparnickel “copper-colored ore” (from which it was first obtained), a half-translation of German Kupfernickel, literally “copper demon,” from Kupfer (see copper) + Nickel “demon, goblin, rascal” (a pet form of masc. proper name Nikolaus, cf. English Old Nick “the devil;” see Nicholas); the ore so called by miners because it looked like copper but yielded none.

Meaning “coin made partly of nickel” is from 1857, when the U.S. introduced one-cent coins made of nickel to replace the old bulky copper pennies. Application to five-cent piece (originally one part nickel, three parts copper) is from 1883, American English; in earlier circulation there were silver half-dimes. To nickel-and-dime (someone) is from 1964 (nickels and dimes “very small amounts of money” is attested from 1893).

nickel nick·el (nĭk’əl)
Symbol Ni
A silvery hard ductile ferromagnetic metallic element used in alloys and in corrosion-resistant surfaces. 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.
Symbol Ni
A silvery, hard, ductile metallic element that occurs in ores along with iron or magnesium. It resists oxidation and corrosion and is used to make alloys such as stainless steel. It is also used as a coating for other metals. Atomic number 28; atomic weight 58.69; melting point 1,453°C; boiling point 2,732°C; specific gravity 8.902; valence 0, 1, 2, 3. See Periodic Table.


Related Terms

big nickel, don’t take any wooden nickels, double nickel, plugged nickel
see: not worth a dime (plugged nickel)


Read Also:

  • Nickel-acetate

    noun, Chemistry. 1. a green, crystalline, water-soluble solid, C 4 H 6 NiO 4 , used chiefly in nickel-plating.

  • Nickel-and-dime

    [nik-uh l-uh n-dahym] /ˈnɪk əl ənˈdaɪm/ Informal. adjective 1. of little or no importance; trivial; petty: a nickel-and-dime business that soon folded. verb (used with object), nickel-and-dimed or nickeled-and-dimed, nickel-and-diming or nickeling-and-diming. 2. to expose to financial hardship or bankruptcy by the accumulation of small expenses, bills, etc.: We’re being nickel-and-dimed to death by these […]

  • Nickelback

    noun phrase The fifth backfield player in the ”nickel defense”: When peace was restored, the officiating crew ejected end Tom Briggs and nickel back Leroy Axem (1980s+ Football)

  • Nickel bag

    noun phrase A five-dollar packet of narcotics (1960s+ Narcotics)

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