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.
a cupronickel coin of the U.S., the 20th part of a dollar, equal to five cents.
a nickel coin of Canada, the 20th part of a dollar, equal to five cents.
verb (used with object), nickeled, nickeling or (especially British) nickelled, nickelling.
to cover or coat with nickel; nickel-plate.
Slang. costing or worth five dollars: a nickel bag of heroin.

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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
nickel (ˈnɪkəl)
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
vb , -els, -elling, -elled, -els, -eling, -eled
3.  (tr) to plate with nickel
[C18: shortened form of German Kupfernickelniccolite, literally: copper demon, so called by miners because it was mistakenly thought to contain copper]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1755, coined in 1754 by Swed. mineralogist Axel von Cronstedt (1722-65) from shortening of Swed. kopparnickel "copper-colored ore" (from which it was first obtained), a half-translation of Ger. Kupfernickel, lit. "copper demon," from Kupfer (see copper) + Nickel "demon,
goblin, rascal" (a pet form of masc. proper name Nikolaus, cf. Eng. 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, Amer.Eng.; in earlier use were silver half-dimes. To nickel-and-dime (someone) is from 1970 (nickels and dimes "very small amounts of money" is attested from 1893).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

nickel nick·el (nĭk'əl)
Symbol Ni
A silvery hard ductile ferromagnetic metallic element used in alloys and in corrosion-resistant surfaces. Atomic number 28; atomic weight 58.69; melting point 1,455°C; boiling point 2,913°C; specific gravity 8.902; valence 0, 1, 2, 3.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
nickel   (nĭk'əl)  Pronunciation Key 
Symbol Ni
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences for nickels
Three bells in a row produced the biggest payoff, ten nickels.
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