|1.||the central pillar of a winding staircase, esp one that is made of stone|
|2.||See newel post|
|[C14: from Old French nouel knob, from Medieval Latin nōdellus, diminutive of nōdus|
upright post rising at the foot of a stairway, at its landings, or at its top. These posts usually serve as anchors for handrails. Often the stringboards, which cover and connect the ends of the steps, are framed into the newels. Made of the same substance as the stairway itself-wood, stone, or metal-the newel may be simple and functional, as in most contemporary examples, or highly ornamental, as in the Elizabethan or Jacobean styles.
Learn more about newel with a free trial on Britannica.com.