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.
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.
updated on July 30, 2015