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 The case is one of several pending before the courts in the long-running battle over what would be Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine. Washington Post, "Minnesota agency appeals court ruling against PolyMet mine," 12 Feb. 2020 However, Williams, now one of the NFL’s best nickel cornerbacks, has made a big impact on one of the league’s best defenses. Eric Branch,, "Ranking the 10 moves that transformed 49ers into a Super Bowl team," 24 Jan. 2020 He and nickel cornerback Ugo Amadi were beaten badly by Packers’ wide receiver Davante Adams on his 20-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks’ comeback falls short to the Green Bay Packers: 10 studs and duds," 13 Jan. 2020 With nickel cornerback Jonathan Jones inactive because of an injury, the Patriots are shorthanded in the secondary. Nora Princiotti,, "Patriots’ Marcus Cannon exits in second quarter," 21 Dec. 2019 Shoppers can buy any participating bottle of wine and get a second bottle of equal or lesser value for only a nickel., "Sponsored content: Try award-winning wines, hard seltzers at BevMo! booth," 7 Feb. 2020 Chris then found discarded orange crates in the back alleys near his home and built a shoeshine box, roaming the streets of Boston and offering shoeshines for a nickel., "Deaths in Central Florida: 11/13," 13 Nov. 2019 But around town, his drug store soon became just as famous for its cold, sparkling soda water, which Payne sold for a nickel a glass. Bob Carlton |, al, "150 years of memories at Alabama’s oldest soda fountain," 23 Aug. 2019 His record section started with Big Band 78s that sold for a nickel. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, "Russ Solomon, founder of iconic Tower Records, dies at 92 while watching Oscars," 5 Mar. 2018

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for nickel

Time Traveler

The first known use of nickel was in 1755

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Statistics for nickel

Last Updated

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nickel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for nickel


How to pronounce nickel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nickel

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


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


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

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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 Encyclopedia article about nickel

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