newel (n.) Look up newel at
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-Roman *nucale, from Latin nux "nut." The meaning "post at the top or bottom of a staircase" is from 1833.