The word hitch dates from the mid-17th century and refers to a short, abrupt movement, a pull, push, jerk or lift. From the latter sense, we get a clue as to how the American word hitchhike derives. To hitchhike is to hike or walk while signalling to motor vehicles, usually with the thumb, to request a hitch or a lift. Hitchhike is first attested from the 1920s and is often shortened to hitch or thumb a lift. Also dating from the 17th century, hitch means to tie or fasten and by the mid-18th century, a hitch was a specific sailors’ knot. From this sense of tying the knot, we also get the American meaning of hitched as married, which dates from the mid-19th century. Dating from the 1600s, a hitch was a stumble or a limp in a horse’s pace. Later, the figurative sense of a temporary stoppage or impediment, as in ‘we have a slight hitch here’ entered the language during the 1700s.