• synonyms


[noo-uh l, nyoo-]
See more synonyms for newel on Thesaurus.com
  1. newel post.
  2. a central pillar or upright from which the steps of a winding stair radiate.
  3. (on an escalator) the horizontal section of railing at the upper or lower end.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for newel

pole, panel, shaft, picket, leg, column, pillar, stake, rail, palisade, standard, mast, pile, stud, pedestal, prop, pale, stock, stilt, doorpost

Examples from the Web for newel

Historical Examples of newel

  • With a lowering face he watched her descend and, his hand on the newel, confronted her.


    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

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

  • Also that the union of Newel and Lydia would be pleasing in His sight.

British Dictionary definitions for newel


  1. the central pillar of a winding staircase, esp one that is made of stone
  2. See newel post
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Word Origin for newel

C14: from Old French nouel knob, from Medieval Latin nōdellus, diminutive of nōdus node
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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper