1. <chemistry> A bright silver-white metallic element. It is of the iron group, and is hard, malleable, and ductile. It occurs combined with sulphur in millerite, with arsenic in the mineral niccolite, and with arsenic and sulphur in nickel glance. Symbol Ni. Atomic weight 58.6.

On account of its permanence in air and inertness to oxidation, it is used in the smaller coins, for plating iron, brass, etc, for chemical apparatus, and in certain alloys, as german silver. It is magnetic, and is very frequently accompanied by cobalt, both being found in meteoric iron.

2. A small coin made of or containing nickel; especially, a five-cent piece. Nickel silver, an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc; usually called german silver.

Synonyms: argentan.

Origin: G, fr. Sw. Nickel, abbrev. From Sw. Kopparnickel copper-nickel, a name given in derision, as it was thought to be a base ore of copper. The origin of the second part of the word is uncertain. Cf. Kupfer-nickel, Copper-nickel.

(01 Mar 1998)

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