One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The central supporting pillar of a spiral or winding staircase.
column, post, pole, support, upright, vertical, baluster, pier, pile, piling, pilaster, stanchion, standard, prop, buttressView synonyms
- ‘The stairways were built upon spiral vaults, winding round a central newel.’
- ‘On older staircases the newel may be held in place with dowels.’
- 1.1 A post at the head or foot of a flight of stairs, supporting a handrail.
- ‘Luckily, some of the original spindles and newel posts were still present, so the Cousley's had them copied and restored the staircase to its former glory.’
- ‘Since most fighters were right-handed, the stairways were built in such a way that if you were trying to get up the stairs, the newel post is on your right-hand side.’
- ‘The pitch pine and mahogany staircase has antique courtesy lights atop carved newel posts and leads to five large bedrooms, all with en suites.’
- ‘The spent cartridge cases were found lying fairly close together, and the nearest of them appears from the scale plans placed before the jury to have been lying a little less than 4 metres from the newel post at the foot of the stairs.’
- ‘On top of the newel post, use a wooden fitting called a starting easement, which caps off the post and provides a transition to the handrail.’
Late Middle English: from Old French nouel ‘knob’, from medieval Latin nodellus, diminutive of Latin nodus ‘knot’.
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