A gallows (or scaffold) is a frame or elevated beam, typically wooden, from which objects can be suspended (i.e., hung) or "weighed". Gallows were thus widely used to suspend public weighing scales for large and heavy objects such as sacks of grain or minerals, usually positioned in markets or toll gates. The term was also used for a projecting framework from which a ship's anchor might be raised so that it is no longer sitting on the bottom, i.e., "weighing [the] anchor,” while avoiding striking the ship’s hull.
In modern usage it has come to mean almost exclusively a scaffold or gibbet used for execution by hanging.
The term "gallows" was derived from a Proto-Germanic word galgô that refers to a "pole", "rod" or "tree branch". With the beginning of Christianization, Ulfilas used the term galga in his Gothic Testament to refer to the cross of Christ, until the use of the Latin term (crux = cross) prevailed
. Ulfilas, apostle of the Goths: together with an account of the Gothic churches and their decline
Charles Archibald Anderson Scott