mid-15c., "weight, heaviness, quality of weight," from heave (v.) on analogy of thieve/theft, weave/weft, etc. Also influenced by heft, obsolete past participle of heave.
Entries linking to heft
Related to have (Old English habban "to hold, possess"). Meaning "to throw" is from 1590s. Nautical meaning "haul or pull" in any direction is from 1620s. Intransitive use from early 14c. as "be raised or forced up;" 1610s as "rise and fall with alternate motion." Sense of "retch, make an effort to vomit" is first attested c. 1600. Related: Heaved; heaving. Nautical heave-ho was a chant in lifting (c. 1300, hevelow).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to grasp."
It forms all or part of: accept; anticipate; anticipation; behave; behoof; behoove; cable; cacciatore; caitiff; capable; capacious; capacity; capias; capiche; capstan; caption; captious; captivate; captive; captor; capture; case (n.2) "receptacle;" catch; catchpoll; cater; chase (n.1) "a hunt;" chase (v.) "to run after, hunt;" chasse; chasseur; conceive; cop (v.) "to seize, catch;" copper (n.2) "policeman;" deceive; emancipate; except; forceps; gaffe; haft; have; hawk (n.); heave; heavy; heft; incapacity; inception; incipient; intercept; intussusception; manciple; municipal; occupy; participation; perceive; precept; prince; purchase; receive; recipe; recover; recuperate; sashay; susceptible.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kapati "two handfuls;" Greek kaptein "to swallow, gulp down," kope "oar, handle;" Latin capax "able to hold much, broad," capistrum "halter," capere "to grasp, lay hold; be large enough for; comprehend;" Lettish kampiu "seize;" Old Irish cacht "servant-girl," literally "captive;" Welsh caeth "captive, slave;" Gothic haban "have, hold;" Old English hæft "handle," habban "to have, hold."