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nickel

[nik-uh l]
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noun
  1. Chemistry. a hard, silvery-white, ductile and malleable metallic element, allied to iron and cobalt, not readily oxidized: used chiefly in alloys, in electroplating, and as a catalyst in organic synthesis. Symbol: Ni; atomic weight: 58.71; atomic number: 28; specific gravity: 8.9 at 20°C.
  2. a cupronickel coin of the U.S., the 20th part of a dollar, equal to five cents.
  3. a nickel coin of Canada, the 20th part of a dollar, equal to five cents.
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verb (used with object), nick·eled, nick·el·ing or (especially British) nick·elled, nick·el·ling.
  1. to cover or coat with nickel; nickel-plate.
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adjective
  1. Slang. costing or worth five dollars: a nickel bag of heroin.
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Origin of nickel

1745–55; < Swedish, abstracted from kopparnickel < German Kupfernickel niccolite, literally, copper demon (so called because though looking like copper it yielded none); Nickel demon, special use of short form of Nikolaus proper name. Cf. Old Nick, pumpernickel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for nickel

nickel

noun
  1. a malleable ductile silvery-white metallic element that is strong and corrosion-resistant, occurring principally in pentlandite and niccolite: used in alloys, esp in toughening steel, in electroplating, and as a catalyst in organic synthesis. Symbol: Ni; atomic no: 28; atomic wt: 58.6934; valency: 0, 1, 2, or 3; relative density: 8.902; melting pt: 1455°C; boiling pt: 2914°C
  2. a US and Canadian coin and monetary unit worth five cents
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verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
  1. (tr) to plate with nickel
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Word Origin

C18: shortened form of German Kupfernickel niccolite, literally: copper demon, so called by miners because it was mistakenly thought to contain copper
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nickel

n.

whitish metal element, 1755, coined in 1754 by Swedish mineralogist Axel von Cronstedt (1722-1765) from shortening of Swedish kopparnickel "copper-colored ore" (from which it was first obtained), a half-translation of German Kupfernickel, literally "copper demon," from Kupfer (see copper) + Nickel "demon, goblin, rascal" (a pet form of masc. proper name Nikolaus, cf. English Old Nick "the devil;" see Nicholas); the ore so called by miners because it looked like copper but yielded none.

Meaning "coin made partly of nickel" is from 1857, when the U.S. introduced one-cent coins made of nickel to replace the old bulky copper pennies. Application to five-cent piece (originally one part nickel, three parts copper) is from 1883, American English; in earlier circulation there were silver half-dimes. To nickel-and-dime (someone) is from 1964 (nickels and dimes "very small amounts of money" is attested from 1893).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nickel in Medicine

nickel

(nĭkəl)
n. Symbol Ni
  1. A silvery hard ductile metallic element used in alloys and in corrosion-resistant surfaces. Atomic number 28.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

nickel in Science

nickel

[nĭkəl]
Ni
  1. A silvery, hard, ductile metallic element that occurs in ores along with iron or magnesium. It resists oxidation and corrosion and is used to make alloys such as stainless steel. It is also used as a coating for other metals. Atomic number 28; atomic weight 58.69; melting point 1,453°C; boiling point 2,732°C; specific gravity 8.902; valence 0, 1, 2, 3. See Periodic Table.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with nickel

nickel

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.