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.

Definitions of nickel
  1. noun
    a hard malleable ductile silvery metallic element that is resistant to corrosion; used in alloys; occurs in pentlandite and smaltite and garnierite and millerite
    synonyms: Ni, atomic number 28
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    type of:
    metal, metallic element
    any of several chemical elements that are usually shiny solids that conduct heat or electricity and can be formed into sheets etc.
  2. noun
    a United States coin worth one twentieth of a dollar
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    type of:
    a flat metal piece (usually a disc) used as money
  3. verb
    plate with nickel
    nickel the plate”
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    type of:
    coat with a layer of metal
  4. noun
    five dollars worth of a drug
    synonyms: nickel note
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    type of:
    five dollar bill, five-spot, fiver
    a United States bill worth 5 dollars
Word Family

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