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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Novel \Nov"el\, a. [OF. novel, nuvel, F. nouvel, nouveau, L. novellus, dim. of novus new. See New.] Of recent origin or introduction; not ancient; new; hence, out of the ordinary course; unusual; strange; surprising. [1913 Webster] Note: In civil law, the novel or new constitutions are those which are supplemental to the code, and posterior in time to the other books. These contained new decrees of successive emperors. [1913 Webster] Novel assignment (Law), a new assignment or specification of a suit. [1913 Webster] Syn: New; recent; modern; fresh; strange; uncommon; rare; unusual. Usage: Novel, New . Everything at its first occurrence is new; that is novel which is so much out of the ordinary course as to strike us with surprise. That is a new sight which is beheld for the first time; that is a novel sight which either was never seen before or is seen but seldom. We have daily new inventions, but a novel one supposes some very peculiar means of attaining its end. Novel theories are regarded with distrust, as likely to prove more ingenious than sound. [1913 Webster]
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

NOVEL ASSIGNMENT. Vide New Assignment.