Meaning of NICKEL in English


I. ˈnikəl noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: probably from Swedish, short for kopparnickel niccolite, part translation of German kupfernickel, probably from kupfer copper (from Old High German kupfar ) + nickel goblin, demon, from Nickel, nickname for Nikolaus Nicholas — more at copper

1. : a nearly silver-white hard malleable ductile ferromagnetic metallic element capable of a high polish and resistant to corrosion that occurs native especially in meteorites and combined in minerals (as garnierite and pentlandite associated with pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite), that is usually obtained by roasting, smelting, sintering to the oxide, reducing to the metal, and refining by electrolysis or by formation and decomposition of nickel carbonyl, that is closely related chemically to cobalt and iron forming a monoxide and characteristic green bivalent salts, and that is used chiefly in alloys (as nickel steel and nickel silver) and as a catalyst (as Raney nickel) especially in hydrogenation — symbol Ni ; see element table


a. also nick·le “ : the United States 5-cent piece regularly containing 25 percent nickel and 75 percent copper

b. : the Canadian 5-cent piece


a. : five cents

b. : a trifling sum of money

not worth a nickel

4. : a nearly neutral, slightly reddish, medium gray

II. transitive verb

( nickeled or nickelled ; nickeled or nickelled ; nickeling or nickelling -k(ə)liŋ ; nickels )

: to plate with nickel

III. noun

1. slang : five dollars

2. or nickel bag slang : a packet containing five dollars worth of an illicit drug (as marijuana)

3. : one's own expense

all the exploration is on our nickel — Thomas Kruzshak

— often used in phrases like it's your nickel

4. or nickel defense : a football defensive formation that employs five defensive backs and is used mainly in passing situations

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.