A nickel is a five-cent coin that got its name from the metal. Nickel is a silver-colored metal that’s strong and resistant to corrosion, so it’s often blended with other metals. Even the coin is part copper.
For most people, a nickel means five cents. The coin is mostly copper, but about 25 percent of it is actually nickel. The word comes from the German Kupfernickel, for “copper demon” because miners were tricked as they first thought the nickel was copper. The original US five cent coins were made of silver, and were known as "half dimes." During the Civil War, new coins began to be minted using less expensive materials — thus, the nickel was born.