a central pillar or upright from which the steps of a winding stair radiate.
(on an escalator) the horizontal section of railing at the upper or lower end.
Origin: 1325–75; earlier nuel,Middle Englishnowel < Middle Frenchno(u)el kernel, newel < Late Latin*nucāle, noun use of neuter of nucālis of a nut, nutlike, equivalent to Latinnuc- (stem of nux) nut + -ālis-al1
mid-14c., "pillar from which steps of a winding staircase radiate," from O.Fr. noel, novel "knob, newel, kernel, stone," from V.L. *nodellus "little knot," dim. of L. nodulus, dim. of nodus "knot." Or the O.Fr. word may be from Gallo-Romance *nucale, from L. nux "nut." The meaning "post at the top or