Weigh or Way?
Do you weigh or way anchor? Which weigh, way or whey do you use? What's your weight or wait? Are you underweight or overweight? Is this a way-out topic? You won't have to wait much longer to find out. One way or another, you will find the knowledge by reading this blog.
Weighing your anchor? Believe it or not, I haven't lost my way. Whether I am way out or way off base, I have found these questions weighing on me for way too long. So here's my attempt to make some head way on this weighty topic.
Every boat needs the freedom to swing with the currents. Every vessel needs its anchor to hold on. We humans need that as well. When we weigh an anchor, we want our vessel to make way or make its way towards a new destination. When we are not willing to wait any longer, we are ready to pull the thing up, secure it on deck and get under way. And when at home we weigh our body, we place it on a scale to determine if it is too heavy, too light or just right. When we weigh ourselves we often check how well our diet is working for us - often we discover we are either underweight or overweight.
When we weigh our options, we examine the pros and the cons - the plusses and minuses. When we weigh a situation, we don't leave it; we examine it carefully. Then we usually respond with a plan or a strategy.
Weigh anchor is a nautical term indicating the final preparation of a sea vessel for getting under way.
Weighing anchor literally means raising the anchor of the vessel from the sea floor and hoisting it up to be stowed onboard the vessel. At the moment when the anchor is no longer touching the sea floor, it is aweigh.
Finding the right anchor for our boats and our lives is critical. We all want an anchor that holds its ground so our vessel and crew can rest peacefully. And at the same time we all want an anchor that isn't difficult to pull up so we can take it with wherever we want to go. Good partners and spouses are like that. Many of us want strong anchors that keep us safe and secure, but also give us the freedom to be.
Tom Waits - the composer / singer waiting.
Hold On is a song touching this idea of being an anchor for another.
From WorldWideWords: Weigh or Way?
An office colleague of mine insisted on writing “a project got under" weigh rather than “a project got under way”, whenever he described the start of some task. His explanation was that the expression had a maritime beginning, along the lines of weighing anchor to get a ship moving. I rather fancied the idea at the time, but I suspect that his story is pure fiction. The next time I use the expression, should I use weigh or way?
According to the best current style manuals, definitely way. But your colleague has the ghostly support of generations of writers. In fact, at one time, under weigh could be regarded as the standard spelling. What happened was that the Dutch, who were European masters of the sea in the seventeenth century, gave us — among many other nautical expressions — the term onderweg, meaning “on the way”. This became naturalized as under way and is first recorded in English around 1740, specifically as a maritime term (its broader meanings didn’t appear until the following century). Some over-clever individuals connected with the sea almost immediately linked it erroneously with the phrase to weigh anchor. Weigh here is the same word as the one for finding out how heavy an object is. Both it and the anchor sense go back to the Old English verb, which could mean “raise up”. The link between the senses is the act of raising an object on scales. It’s easy to find a myriad of examples of under weigh from the best English authors in the following two centuries, such as William Makepeace Thackeray, Captain Marryat, Washington Irving, Thomas Carlyle, Herman Melville, Lord Byron, and Charles Dickens (“There were the bad odours of the town, and the rain and the refuse in the kennels, and the faint lamps slung across the road, and the huge Diligence, and its mountain of luggage, and its six grey horses with their tails tied up, getting under weigh at the coach office.” — Little Dorrit).
It was still common as recently as the 1930s (“He felt her gaze upon him, all the same, as he stood with his back to her attending to the business of getting
under weigh.” — The Happy Return by C S Forester, 1937) but weigh has dropped off almost to nothing now. This paralleled another change, starting around the same time, in which the two words began to be combined into a single adverb, underway (though many style manuals still recommend it be written as two words). It may be that the influence of other words ending in -way, especially anyway, encouraged the shift in spelling back to the original and in the process killed off a persistent misunderstanding.
Listen to the music (30 seconds worth):
Anchors Aweigh (1906 version)
Stand Navy out to sea,
Fight our Battle Cry;
We'll never change our course,
So Army you steer shy-y-y-y.
Roll out the TNT, Anchors Aweigh. Sail on to Victory
And sink their bones to Davy Jones, Hooray!
Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to college joys, We sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night on shore, Drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more.
Here's wishing you a happy voyage home.
Blue of the Mighty Deep;
Gold of God's Sun
Let these colors be till all of time be done, done, done,
On seven seas we learn Navy's stern call:
Faith, Courage, Service true, with Honor, Over Honor, Over All.
weigh (up)on someone:
- to burden or worry someone.
- The problems at the office were beginning to weigh upon Mr. Franklin.
- My problems began to weigh on me.
weigh someone or something down:
- to burden someone or something.
- The heavy burden weighed the poor donkey down.
- The load of bricks weighed down the truck.
weigh someone's words:
- to consider carefully what someone says. I listened to what he said, and I weighed his words very carefully.
- Everyone was weighing his words.
- None of us knew exactly what he meant.
2. to consider one's own words carefully
- I always weigh my words when I speak in public.
- John was weighing his words carefully because he didn't want to be misunderstood.
weigh someone down
- [for a thought] to worry or depress someone.
- All these problems really weigh me down. Financial problems have been weighing down our entire family.
weigh something against something
- to ponder something by balancing it against something.
- I weighed going to town against staying here and sleeping and I decided to stay here.
- When I weigh your suggestion against my own ideas, I realize that I must follow my own conscience.
A popular tattoo
weigh something out:
- to weigh something as it is distributed.
- The merchant weighed the cuts of meat out for each of the waiting women.
- They weighed out the grain care-fully.
weigh something up:
- to find out the weight of something.
- I can't tell you how much this will cost until I weigh it up.
- Liz weighed up the meat and jotted down the price.
weigh against someone or something
- to count against someone or something; [for some fact]
- I hope my many absences do not weigh against me on the final grade.
- This will weigh against you.
weigh in (at something):
- to present oneself at a certain weight.
- (Usually said of boxers.) The fighter weighed in at over two hundred pounds. The contenders weighed in yesterday.
weigh on someone's mind
- to be in a person's thoughts; [for something] to be bothering someone's thinking.
- This problem has been weighing on my mind for many days now. I hate to have things weighing on my mind. I can't sleep when I'm worried.
weigh your words also weigh each word:
- to think carefully about something before you say it
- Jake explained the reasons for his decision, weighing each word as he spoke.
weigh a ton (informal)
- to be very heavy This suitcase weighs a ton!
weigh somebody down also weigh down somebody:
- to be very heavy for someone to carry
- She checked her bags because she knew they would weigh her down.
- The number of keys he carried would have weighed down a band of sturdy men.
- to make someone feel tired and weak He was weighed down by worries about money.
- Old, sad memories weighed her down.