nickel

noun
nick·​el | \ ˈni-kəl How to pronounce nickel (audio) \
variants: or less commonly nickle

Definition of nickel

1 : a silver-white hard malleable ductile metallic element capable of a high polish and resistant to corrosion that is used chiefly in alloys and as a catalyst — see Chemical Elements Table
2a(1) : the U.S. 5-cent piece regularly containing 25 percent nickel and 75 percent copper
(2) : the Canadian 5-cent piece
b : five cents
3 slang : a packet containing five dollars worth of an illicit drug (such as marijuana)

called also nickel bag

4 : a pass defense in football that employs five defensive backs

Examples of nickel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Corner Kevon Seymour has good size and can play nickel and on the outside. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Last man standing from Panthers' 'shop-hungry' draft knows what must happen next," 14 June 2018 In conjunction with Motiv Power Systems and its EPIC platform, Winnebago aims for a single-phase J1772 220-volt charging system, capable of returning 85 to 125 miles on one single 6-8-hour charge from its eight sodium-nickel batteries. Blake Z. Rong, Popular Mechanics, "RVs Are More Efficient Than Ever, Thanks to Eco-Friendly Manufacturing," 15 May 2019 Its two CDs were contained in a silver- and nickel-plated box; they were accompanied by 174 pages of liner notes, hand-bound in leather. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men’ Review: Group Therapy," 9 May 2019 Don't forget to apply lots of sunscreen as well — at least a shot glass-full for the body, a nickel-size dollop for the face, says GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. 7. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of a Sunburn ASAP," 16 Apr. 2019 Extra points — Junior Isaiah Gilchrist — who has also lined up at safety and cornerback this spring — played nickel Friday and turned in tackles for loss on back-to-back plays. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Observations from the UW Huskies’ sixth practice of spring football," 12 Apr. 2019 Aluminum and nickel surged this week as global supply chains were disrupted by the sanctions. Bloomberg.com, "Metals Cap Turbulent Week as Rusal Sanctions Fuel Supply Fears," 20 Apr. 2018 Behind Bryant at nickel, Molden’s potential impact may be diminished. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Washington opens spring football this week. These are the top story lines to watch.," 1 Apr. 2019 They are coated with 67 unique layers of nickel-rich steels to ensure that the first cut is as sharp as one made 100 years down the line. Popular Mechanics, "These Laser-Sharp Japanese Knives Are a Kitchen Staple," 14 Mar. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nickel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of nickel

1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nickel

probably from Swedish nickel, from German Kupfernickel niccolite (mineral containing nickel arsenide), probably from Kupfer copper + Nickel goblin; from the deceptive copper color of niccolite

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nickel

Statistics for nickel

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nickel

The first known use of nickel was in 1755

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nickel

nickel

noun

English Language Learners Definition of nickel

: a hard silver-white metal
: a U.S. or Canadian coin that is worth five cents

nickel

noun
nick·​el | \ ˈni-kəl How to pronounce nickel (audio) \

Kids Definition of nickel

1 : a hard silvery white metallic chemical element that can be highly polished, resists weathering, and is used in alloys
2 : a United States coin worth five cents

nickel

noun
nick·​el | \ ˈnik-əl How to pronounce nickel (audio) \

Medical Definition of nickel

: a silver-white hard malleable ductile metallic element capable of a high polish and resistant to corrosion that is used chiefly in alloys and as a catalyst symbol Ni — see Chemical Elements Table

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on nickel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with nickel

Spanish Central: Translation of nickel

Nglish: Translation of nickel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nickel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about nickel

Comments on nickel

What made you want to look up nickel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!