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[noo-uh l, nyoo-] /ˈnu əl, ˈnyu-/
a central pillar or upright from which the steps of a winding stair radiate.
(on an escalator) the horizontal section of railing at the upper or lower end.
Origin of newel
1325-75; earlier nuel, Middle English nowel < Middle French no(u)el kernel, newel < Late Latin *nucāle, noun use of neuter of nucālis of a nut, nutlike, equivalent to Latin nuc- (stem of nux) nut + -ālis -al1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for newel
Historical Examples
  • With a lowering face he watched her descend and, his hand on the newel, confronted her.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • And they climbed the newel staircase that was carried in the north-east pier.

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • The hand rail is supported at either end by a post (newel Post).

    The Boy Craftsman A. Neely Hall
  • Also that the union of newel and Lydia would be pleasing in His sight.

  • Full of joy newel sought Lydia and communicated the word he had received.

  • newel set to work to try and assist the homeless ones and feed the poor.

  • newel, go and ask the Prophet to send me a handkerchief with his blessing.

  • The grip of the shadowy presence was fastened on newel, and he knew it.

  • newel, here in an Indian country alone, with seven little children.

  • Then, with an odd lack of assurance, he said: About that newel post now, Rowland.

    Center Rush Rowland

    Ralph Henry Barbour
British Dictionary definitions for newel


the central pillar of a winding staircase, esp one that is made of stone
Word Origin
C14: from Old French nouel knob, from Medieval Latin nōdellus, diminutive of nōdusnode
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for newel

mid-14c., "pillar from which steps of a winding staircase radiate," from Old French noel, novel "knob, newel, kernel, stone" (Modern French noyau), from Vulgar Latin *nodellus "little knot," diminutive of Latin nodulus, diminutive of nodus "knot" (see net (n.)). Klein's sources suggest the French word may be from Gallo-Romance *nucale, from Latin nux "nut." The meaning "post at the top or bottom of a staircase" is from 1833.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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