Word Origin & History
O.E. wegan "find the weight of, have weight, lift, carry," from P.Gmc. *weganan (cf. O.S. wegan, O.Fris. wega, Du. wegen "to weigh," O.N. vega, O.H.G. wegan "to move, carry, weigh," Ger. wiegen "to weigh"), from PIE *wegh- "to move" (cf. Skt. vahati "carries, conveys," vahitram "vessel, ship;" Avestan
vazaiti "he leads, draws;" Gk. okhos "carriage;" L. vehere "to carry, convey;" O.C.S. vesti "to carry, convey;" Lith. vezu "to carry, convey;" O.Ir. fecht "campaign, journey"). The original sense was of motion, which led to that of lifting, then to that of "measure the weight of." The older sense of "lift, carry" survives in the nautical phrase weigh anchor. Fig. sense of "to consider, ponder" (in ref. to words, etc.) is recorded from 1340.
O.E. ancor, borrowed 9c. from L. ancora, from or cognate with Gk. ankyra "anchor, hook" (see ankle
). A very early borrowing and said to be the only L. nautical term used in the Gmc. languages. The -ch- spelling emerged late 16c., in imitation of a misspelling of the L. word.
The fig. sense of "that which gives stability or security" is from late 14c. Meaning "host or presenter of a TV or radio program" is from 1965, short for anchorman (1958), which earlier meant "the last man of a tug-of-war team" (1909) and "the one who runs last in a relay race" (1934). The verb is first attested early 13c.
"Anchors are of various sizes. The largest is the SHEET-anchor; next in size are the BOWER-anchors, hung in the bows of ships; the smallest is the KEDGE-anchor." [OED]