Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A vertical support at the center of a circular staircase.
  • noun A post that supports a handrail at the bottom or at the landing of a staircase.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A new thing; a novelty.
  • noun In architecture, an upright cylinder or pillar which forms a center from which the steps of a winding stair radiate, and supports their inner ends from the bottom to the top.
  • noun In carpentry, the tall and more or less ornamental post at the head or foot of a stair, supporting a handrail.
  • noun In engineering, a cylindrical pillar terminating the wing-wall of a bridge.
  • noun In a ship, an upright timber which receives the tenons of the rails leading from the breastwork of the gangway.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Arch.) The upright post about which the steps of a circular staircase wind; hence, in stairs having straight flights, the principal post at the foot of a staircase, or the secondary ones at the landings. Also called newel post. See Hollow newel, under hollow.
  • noun obsolete A novelty; a new thing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun architecture A central pillar around which a staircase spirals.
  • noun architecture A sturdy pillar at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs, supporting the handrail.
  • noun obsolete A novelty; a new thing.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the central pillar of a circular staircase
  • noun the post at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs; it supports the handrail

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English nouel, niewel, from Old French noiel, from Vulgar Latin *nōdellus, little knot, diminutive of Latin nōdulus, diminutive of nōdus, knot; see node.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From new +‎ -el, modelled after novel ("new, original").

Examples

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • "Fixed the newel post!" - Clark Griswold, after finding the newel post at the top of the stairs loose and subsequently sawing it off with a chainsaw.

    December 17, 2006

  • newel What is the newel of DNA?

    February 1, 2007

  • "Much better than the old L!" : Chicago passengers delighted with their refurbished transit system.

    January 20, 2009