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newel

[noo-uh l, nyoo-] /ˈnu əl, ˈnyu-/
noun
2.
a central pillar or upright from which the steps of a winding stair radiate.
3.
(on an escalator) the horizontal section of railing at the upper or lower end.
Origin
1325-1375
1325-75; earlier nuel, Middle English nowel < Middle French no(u)el kernel, newel < Late Latin *nucāle, noun use of neuter of nucālis of a nut, nutlike, equivalent to Latin nuc- (stem of nux) nut + -ālis -al1
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for newels

newel

/ˈnjuːəl/
noun
1.
the central pillar of a winding staircase, esp one that is made of stone
2.
Word Origin
C14: from Old French nouel knob, from Medieval Latin nōdellus, diminutive of nōdusnode
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for newels

newel

n.

mid-14c., "pillar from which steps of a winding staircase radiate," from Old French noel, novel "knob, newel, kernel, stone" (Modern French noyau), from Vulgar Latin *nodellus "little knot," diminutive of Latin nodulus, diminutive of nodus "knot" (see net (n.)). Klein's sources suggest the French word may be from Gallo-Romance *nucale, from Latin nux "nut." The meaning "post at the top or bottom of a staircase" is from 1833.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for newels

newel

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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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9
11
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