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From trucker slang in the 1970s referring to the national 55 mph speed limit, based on nickel (five-cent coin).


double-nickel (plural double-nickels)

  1. (US slang) The national speed limit of 55 miles per hour introduced in the USA in 1974.
    • 2015 February 17, Howard Fischer, “Bill takes teeth out of state speed limits”, in Arizona Daily Star:
      But in 1982 they found a loophole: Keep the double-nickel speed limit, but effectively allow motorists to drive up to 65 by designating that speed a “waste of a finite resource” and setting the fine at $15.
    • 2015 August 20, Michael Barrett, “Damn the Double Nickel: "Convoy" Shows a Great Director Slumming”, in Pop Matters:
      Peckinpah is just as interested in the old golf-cart codger who says “Damn the double-nickel!” (in reference to the 55mph speed limit) as he is in Duck or Lyle, and much more so than in Ali MacGraw’s character, along for the ride and marquee value.
  2. (US slang) The number 55 (by extension).
    • 2009 February 3, Craig Kwasniewski, “61 Is Impressive but Remember the Double Nickel "Kobe Bryant's 61-point outburst at MSG surpasses Michael Jordan's infamous double-nickel from 1995.”, in The Association:
    • 2015 January 29, Matt Moore, “Five-Star Review: Kyrie Irving's double-nickel night”, in CBSSports:
      This night was insane. Knicks win, Sixers win, Wolves win. Kyrie drops a double-nickel.


double-nickel (third-person singular simple present double-nickels, present participle double-nickeling, simple past and past participle double-nickeled)

  1. (with dummy it) To travel at 55 miles per hour.
    • 2013, Stephen King, Doctor Sleep[1], New York: Scribner, →ISBN, chapter 2, section 3, page 91:
      Rose’s EarthCruiser – seven hundred thousand dollars’ worth of imported rolling steel, the best RV money could buy – led the parade. But slowly, just double-nickeling it.