E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The letters used to be prefixed to newspapers to show that they obtained information from the four quarters of the world, and the supposition that our word news is thence derived is at least ingenious; but the old-fashioned way of spelling the word, newes, is fatal to the conceit. The French nouvelles seems to be the real source. (See NOTARICA.)
News is conveyed by letter, word, or mouth,
And comes to us from North, East, West, and South.