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 slot, and particularly Bears nickel corner Buster Skrine, was a consistent Vikings target when Cousins needed yardage most. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "Film review: Kirk Cousins, Vikings step out of mold to inch past Bears defense," 18 Nov. 2020 Indianapolis is monitoring Moore’s rib injury to see whether the Colts’ starting nickel can play Sunday against Aaron Rodgers. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Colts getting more than their money's worth out of free agent find T.J. Carrie," 17 Nov. 2020 Darryl Roberts, the Lions’ primary nickel corner in Coleman’s absence, has four penalties, tied with Oruwariye for most on the team. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions midseason grades: Assigning all the blame for 3-5 start," 14 Nov. 2020 Kevin Johnson has met expectations as the nickel corner. cleveland, "The 5-3 Browns at midseason: A position-by-position analysis," 14 Nov. 2020 Oregon has a counter in both its 1-4-6 dime and 2-4-5 nickel personnel groups. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks vs. Washington State Cougars: Preview, odds, time, TV channel, how to watch live stream online," 14 Nov. 2020 Nik Needham has handled the nickel role for the majority of the season, contributing 34 tackles and one pass deflection. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: What could prevent these Dolphins from reaching the postseason? | Commentary," 13 Nov. 2020 The business allowed customers to access entertainment — music, speeches and, eventually, brief kinetoscope movies — for a nickel a spin. Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times, "L.A.’s evolution as a music powerhouse may have started earlier than we think," 12 Nov. 2020 Indianapolis had four defensive linemen on the line of scrimmage, two linebackers and a nickel corner five yards behind the defensive linemen and the other four defensive backs dropped back in coverage. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, "Film analysis: Breaking down Joe Burrow's five most interesting moments from Week 6," 20 Oct. 2020

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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nickel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 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

Nglish: Translation of nickel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nickel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about nickel

Comments on nickel

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