- 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), nick·eled, nick·el·ing or (especially British) nick·elled, nick·el·ling.
- to cover or coat with nickel; nickel-plate.
- Slang. costing or worth five dollars: a nickel bag of heroin.
- 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
- a US and Canadian coin and monetary unit worth five cents
verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled
- (tr) to plate with nickel
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).
n. Symbol Ni
- A silvery hard ductile metallic element used in alloys and in corrosion-resistant surfaces. Atomic number 28.
- 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.
see not worth a dime (plugged nickel).