Etymology
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hitch (v.)
mid-15c., probably from Middle English icchen "to move as with jerks or pauses; to stir" (c. 1200), a word of unknown origin. The connection with icchen might be in notion of "hitching up" pants or boots with a jerking motion. Sense of "become fastened," especially by a hook, first recorded 1570s, originally nautical. Meaning "to marry" is from 1844 (to hitch horses together "get along well," especially of married couples, is from 1837, American English). Short for hitchhike (v.) by 1931. Related: Hitched; hitching. To (figuratively) hitch (one's) wagon to a star is by 1862.
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hitch (n.)
1660s, "a limp or hobble;" 1670s, "an abrupt movement," from hitch (v.). Meaning "a means by which a rope is made fast" is from 1769, nautical. The sense of "obstruction" (usually unforeseen and temporary) is first recorded 1748; military sense of "enlistment" is from 1835.
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hitcher (n.)
1620s, "a hook, boat-hook," agent noun from hitch (v.). Meaning "hitchhiker" is from 1960.
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unhitch (v.)
1620s, from un- (2) "opposite of" + hitch (v.). Related: Unhitched; unhitching.
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hitchhike 
1921 (n.), 1923 (v.), from hitch (v.), from the notion of hitching a sled, etc. to a moving vehicle (a sense first recorded 1880) + hike (n.). Related: Hitchhiked; hitchhiking. Hitchhiker attested from 1927.
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cloven (adj.)

"divided, split," Old English clofen, past-participle adjective from cleave (v.1). Sometimes shortened to clove, hence clove-hitch (1769), etc. Cloven hoof, characteristic of ruminant quadrupeds (and ascribed in mythology to Pan and the Devil) is from c. 1200.

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inchoate (adj.)
"recently or just begun," 1530s, from Latin inchoatus, past participle of inchoare, alteration of incohare "commence, begin," probably originally "to hitch up," traditionally derived from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + a verb from cohum "strap (fastened to the oxen's yoke)," a word of obscure origin. De Vaan says that as, incohere "is a frequent verb, ... its meaning can easily have derived from 'to yoke a plough to a team of oxen' ..., in other words, 'to start work.' Thus, there might be a core of truth in the ancient connection of cohum with a yoke."
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hike (v.)

1809, hyke "to walk vigorously," an English dialectal word of unknown origin. A yike from 1736 answers to the sense. Not in widespread popular use until early 20c.

HIKE, v. to go away. It is generally used in a contemptuous sense. Ex. "Come, hike," i.e. take yourself off; begone. [Rev. Robert Forby, "The Vocabulary of East Anglia," London, 1830]

Sense of "pull up" (as pants) first recorded 1873 in American English, and may be a variant of hitch; extended sense of "raise" (as wages) is 1867. Related: Hiked; hiking.

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span (v.)
Old English spannan "to join, link, clasp, fasten, bind, connect; stretch, span," from Proto-Germanic *spannan (source also of Old Norse spenna, Old Frisian spanna, Middle Dutch spannen, Dutch spannan "stretch, bend, hoist, hitch," Old High German spannan, German spannen "to join, fasten, extend, connect"), from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin" (source also of spin (v.)).

The meaning "to encircle with the hand(s)" is from 1781; in the sense of "to form an arch over (something)" it is first recorded 1630s. Related: Spanned; spanning.
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