na·vel / ˈnāvəl/ • n. a rounded, knotty depression in the center of a person's belly caused by the detachment of the umbilical cord after birth; the umbilicus. ∎ fig. the central point of a place: the Incas saw Cuzco as the navel of the world. PHRASES: contemplate one's navel spend time complacently considering oneself or one's own interests; concentrate on one issue at the expense of a wider view. ORIGIN: Old English nafela, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch navel and German Nabel, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin umbo ‘boss of a shield,’ umbilicus ‘navel,’ and Greek omphalos ‘boss, navel.’ Compare with nave2 .