Dec 30, 2016

Wordology, Nickel

The name for this metal began during 18th century by  Swedish mineralogist Axel von Cronstedt from the Swedish 'kopparnickel', which was taken from the German 'Kupfernickel'.


Copper miners named this different metal ore Kupfernickel, which literally translates as copper-devil. The German word Nickel, related to the name Nicholas, an antiquated term for a mythological spirit that haunts houses, caves, and mines. They used this term because they were often fooled into thinking that nickel ore was copper.

During the second half of the 19th century, people began to refer to small coins as nickels, because they were made of nickel rather than copper. Today a US nickel is 75% copper and 25% nickel.