meaning both “dish” and “law court”
The German language offers a good amount of word pairs that seem completely unrelated to each other but spell exactly the same. In most cases, these terms indeed share the same root, but their meanings shifted into different directions over the years.
This seems to be exactly the case with the multiple meanings of the word Gericht. From what I could find, both the “dish” and “court” concept derive from the common Middle High German ancestor “geriht.” It is an adjective that conveys the idea of something that has been prepared, adjusted, arranged, set-up. The same root is present in the modern German word richten. This can mean, amongst many other things, “to judge,” but also “to set (e.g. a table).”
That being said, there is a whole lot of other homonyms that I cannot explain, but that I find hilarious nonetheless. Did you know that Germans use the same word for “barn” as for “dandruffs” (Schuppen)? And the same word for a “zit” and for a “pickaxe” (Pickel). Okay, one more: the German word for “truck” is the same as for a “bad habit” (Laster). And if you see a classic Elefantenrennen on the Autobahn, this is starting to make sense all of a sudden.