General English


  • noun a valuable metal traded on commodity exchanges, such as the London Metal Exchange



  • A lustrous silver-white chemical element whose atomic number is 28. It is malleable, hard, ferromagnetic, conducts electricity and heat well, and resists corrosion. It has about 25 known isotopes, of which 5 are stable. Its applications in electronics include its use in alloys, for electroplating, in ceramics, cells and batteries, permanent magnets, and in electrodes. Its chemical symbol is Ni.
  • chemical symbolNi


  • A silvery metallic element used in coins and in German Silver. The U.S. five cent piece is called a nickel due to the coin being minted from a particular nickel alloy, although the U.S. Dollar's fall in the forex market and relative to its constituent metals has pushed the market value of a nickel's metal over five cents.

Information & Library Science

  • abbreviation in Internet addresses, the top-level domain for Nicaragua

Origin & History of “nickel”

The element nickel was named in 1754 by the Swedish mineralogist Axel von Cronstedt. The word he chose was a truncated form of kupfernickel, a term formerly used by German miners for niccolite, a nickle-bearing ore. this meant literally ‘copperdemon’, an allusion probably to the fact that niccolite looks as though it contains copper, but does not. The -nickel part of the term represents a pet form of the name Nikolaus, perhaps chosen for its resemblance to German nix ‘water-sprite’. Nickel was first used for a US five-cent coin (made of a copper and nickel alloy) in the 1880s.