newel

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English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Ornamented newel at the foot of a staircase.

From Anglo-Norman nuel, Middle French nuel, of uncertain origin.

Noun[edit]

newel (plural newels)

  1. (architecture) A central pillar around which a staircase spirals.
  2. (architecture) A sturdy pillar at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs, supporting the handrail.
    • 1943, Raymond Chandler, The High Window, Penguin 2005, p. 238:
      We went along the hall to the end and up a flight of stairs with a carved handrail and newel post.
Synonyms[edit]
  • (central pillar of a staircase spiral): spindle
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From new +‎ -el, modelled after novel (new, original).

Noun[edit]

newel (plural newels)

  1. (obsolete) A novelty; a new thing.
    • 1882: Edmund Spenser (Alexander Balloch Grosart, ed) The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Edmund Spenser
      He was so enamoured with the newel.