c.1440, probably from M.E. icchen "to move as with a jerk, to stir" (c.1200). It lacks cognates in other languages. Sense of "become fastened by a hook" first recorded 1578, originally nautical; the connection with icchen may be in notion of "hitching up" pants or boots with a jerking motion. The noun sense of "obstruction" is first recorded 1748. Military sense of "enlistment" is from 1835; verb meaning "to marry" is from 1844. Hitchhike is first attested 1923, from the notion of hitching a sled to a moving vehicle (a sense first recorded 1880) + hike.