Definition: What Is a Nickel?

Pile of US Nickels
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(1) A nickel is the U.S. coin worth 5 cents, or 5/100 of a dollar.

(2) Nickel is a silvery white metal which is used in some coin alloys, including that of the U.S. 5-cent piece, from which it derives its name.

Types of U.S. Nickels

Nickels were first minted in the United States in 1866. Before that they were known as "Half Dimes" in made out of an alloy of silver and copper. The following nickels were made in the United States:

Common Misspellings



The U.S. 5-cent coin started being referred to as a nickel years ago, because that was the metal from which it was made.

Edited by: James Bucki