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 element table
2a (1) : the U.S. 5-cent piece regularly containing 25 percent nickel and 75 percent copper (2) : the Canadian 5-cent pieceb : 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
His version of Jefferson is based during the nation’s fight for independence, or simply, how Jefferson is pictured on the nickel.
Powdery mildew is the most common disease, which first appears as a nickel-sized greyish dusty spot.
With Saints coaches favoring packages with three safeties, Vaccaro frequently played nickel cornerback or a hybrid linebacker role.
Tavon Young's knee injury means the Ravens need to find a nickel cornerback, with Webb and Maurice Canady among the candidates for that role.
His medical boot had come off months earlier, and the bullet wound had healed, leaving a dark, nickel-size splotch on his ankle.
Amazon, Snapchat, Box, and a host of other Silicon Valley businesses all went public without a nickel of profit to their names.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound McDonald, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds and bench-pressed 365 pounds during Alabama's spring testing, focused on nickel back during the spring.
Evangel's ArDarius Washington is currently being viewed as a nickel cornerback in the Tigers' scheme, which plays to his strengths.
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
First Known Use: 1755See Words from the same year
NICKEL Defined for English Language Learners
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
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
Seen and Heard
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