nickel

noun nick·el \ ˈni-kəl \
variants: or less commonly nickle
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

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
2 a (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

Recent Examples of nickel from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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


NICKEL Defined for English Language Learners

nickel

noun

Definition of nickel for English Language Learners

  • : a hard silver-white metal

  • : a U.S. or Canadian coin that is worth five cents


NICKEL Defined for Kids

nickel

noun nick·el \ ˈni-kəl \

Definition of nickel for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

nickel

noun nick·el \ ˈnik-əl \

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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