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From Middle English newel, niwel (right down, adverb), from Old English nēol, nȳwol, nēowol, neowol, niwol, nihol (precipitous, headlong, prone, prostrate, obscure, deep down, low, profound, abysmal), of uncertain origin. Possibly a variant of nifol (dark, gloomy, obscure), from Proto-Germanic *nibulaz, *nebulaz (mist, fog), from Proto-Indo-European *nébʰelos, from Proto-Indo-European *nébʰos (cloud, mist, moisture); or more likely, from Proto-Germanic *nīhwulaz (descending; low), from Proto-Indo-European *kneygʷʰ- (to tend; incline; lean toward; bend), from Proto-Indo-European *ken- (to press; pinch; kink).

If derived from *nibulaz, then cognate with Dutch nevel (mist, fog, haze), German Nebel (fog, mist, haze, nebula), Icelandic nifl (fog, darkness), Icelandic njól (mist, night, darkness), Latin nebula (fog, cloud, vapour), Ancient Greek νέφος (néphos, cloud).

If derived from *nīhwulaz, then cognate with Old Frisian niwul, Middle Low German nīgel, nugel, nule, nūl (forwards; forward over), Middle Dutch niel (thrown forward on the ground; prostrate) (Modern Dutch nuul-, vernielen).


nuel (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Prone; tending to.
  2. (obsolete) face-down; prostrate.

Related terms[edit]