• 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

Examples from the Web for newel

Historical Examples

  • 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

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