From Middle English newel, niwel, from Old English nēol, nȳwol, nēowol, neowol, niwol, nihol, of uncertain origin. Possibly a variant of nifol, from Proto-West Germanic *nebul, from Proto-Germanic *nibulaz, *nebulaz, from Proto-Indo-European *nébʰelos, from *nébʰos; or more likely, from Proto-Germanic *nīhwulaz ("descending; low"), from Proto-Indo-European *kneygʷʰ- ("to tend; incline; lean toward; bend"), from *ken-.
If derived from *nibulaz, then cognate with Dutch nevel ("mist, fog, haze"), German Nebel ("fog, mist, haze, nebula"), Icelandic nifl ("fog, darkness"), Icelandic njól ("mist, night, darkness"), Latin nebula ("fog, cloud, vapour"), Ancient Greek νέφος ("cloud").
If derived from *nīhwulaz, then cognate Old Frisian niwul, Middle Low German nīgel, nugel, nule, nūl, Middle Dutch niel ("thrown forward on the ground; prostrate") (Dutch nuul-, vernielen).
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