"pointed stick or post," Old English staca "pin, stake," from Proto-Germanic *stakon (source also of Old Norse stiaki, Danish stage, Old Frisian stake, Middle Dutch stake, Dutch staak, German stake), from PIE root *steg- (1) "pole, stick." The Germanic word has been borrowed in Spanish (estaca), Old French (estaque), and Italian stacca) and was borrowed back as attach.
Meaning "post upon which persons were bound for death by burning" is recorded from c. 1200. Meaning "vertical bar affixed to the edge of a platform of s truck, rail car, etc., to hold boards to keep the load from falling off" is from 1875; hence stake-body as a type of truck (1907). In pull up stakes, "The allusion is to pulling up the stakes of a tent" [Bartlett].