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.