Word Origin & History
late 14c., from O.Fr. centre, from L. centrum "center," orig. fixed point of the two points of a compass, from Gk. kentron "sharp point, goad," from kentein "stitch," from PIE base *kent- "to prick" (cf. Breton kentr "a spur," O.H.G. hantag "sharp, pointed"). The verb is from 1620s. Spelling with -re
popularized in Britain by Johnson's dictionary, though -er is older. Center of gravity is recorded from 1650s.