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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce newel (audio)

Dictionary definition of newel

A central, supporting pillar or post found at the bottom or top of a staircase.
"The spiral staircase had a decorative iron newel at its center."

Detailed meaning of newel

It serves as a structural element, providing stability and support to the handrail and balustrade system of a staircase. The newel is typically larger and more ornamental than the other posts in the balustrade, often featuring decorative designs or carvings. It serves as a focal point and visual anchor, lending aesthetic appeal to the staircase. In addition to its functional role, the newel may also have a practical purpose, such as housing a concealed storage space or acting as a base for a newel post finial. Newels can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, stone, metal, or a combination of these. They come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from simple and understated to intricate and elaborate, reflecting the architectural style of the staircase and the overall design of the space.

Example sentences containing newel

1. The ornate newel in the foyer adds elegance to the entrance.
2. He gripped the newel tightly as he ascended the spiral staircase.
3. The antique oak newel was the centerpiece of the staircase.
4. The architect designed a custom-made newel for the grand staircase.
5. The craftsmen carved intricate patterns into the newel post.
6. She wrapped garlands around the newel during the holiday season.

History and etymology of newel

The noun 'newel' has a rich etymological history that can be traced back to Old French. It stems from the Old French word 'nouel,' which ultimately finds its origins in the Latin word 'nodellus,' a diminutive form of 'nodus,' meaning 'knot' or 'node.' The transition from 'nodellus' to 'newel' reflects the structural resemblance of a central post, typically found at the bottom or top of a staircase, to a knot or node that ties together the various elements of a staircase's design. This etymology beautifully illustrates how language can draw connections between the physical characteristics of an object and its linguistic roots, in this case, a pillar that serves as a pivotal and supportive element in the architecture of a staircase.

Quiz: Find the meaning of newel

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Further usage examples of newel

1. The old mansion's newel showcased exquisite craftsmanship.
2. The cat perched itself atop the staircase newel, surveying the room.
3. A brass lantern hung from the newel to illuminate the stairs.
4. The wedding couple posed for photos on the grand staircase newel.
5. He noticed a scratch on the wooden newel, a sign of wear.
6. The wrought-iron newel featured delicate scrollwork.
7. The children slid down the banister, gripping the newel for support.
8. The marble newel provided a sturdy anchor for the railing.
9. The historic building's restoration included refurbishing the newel.
10. She placed a vase of fresh flowers on the newel in the morning.
11. The chandelier's crystals sparkled in the light from the newel.
12. A decorative finial adorned the top of the staircase newel.
13. The guests gathered around the newel for a group photo.
14. The architect's plans called for a grand, sweeping staircase with an ornate newel.
15. The ornate newel added elegance and grandeur to the staircase.
16. She gripped the newel tightly as she descended the stairs.
17. The woodcarvings on the newel depicted intricate floral patterns.
18. The newel post was handcrafted from solid oak.
19. They gathered around the newel to take a family photo before the event.
20. The metal railing was securely fastened to the newel at each landing.
21. She draped a garland of flowers around the newel for a festive touch.
22. He leaned against the newel, catching his breath after climbing the stairs.
23. The historical building retained its original marble newels, showcasing craftsmanship from the past.
24. The interior designer chose a modern, minimalist newel design to complement the contemporary aesthetics of the home.
25. The spiral staircase wound gracefully around the central newel, creating a striking architectural feature.



pillar, end, outside, perimeter


SAT 20 (Scholastic Assessment Test), High School 4, Architectural Features and Spaces

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