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From Biology-Online Dictionary
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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. See hollow newel, under Hollow.

Origin: OF. Nual, F. Noyau sone, of fruit, noyau d'escaler newel, fr. L. Nucalis like a nut, fr. Nux, nucis, nut. Cf Nowel the inner wall of a mold, Nucleus.