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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 morelikely 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]