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See also: hitch-hike


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Alternative forms[edit]


From hitch +‎ hike.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɪt͡ʃhaɪk/
  • (file)


hitchhike (third-person singular simple present hitchhikes, present participle hitchhiking, simple past and past participle hitchhiked)

  1. To try to get a ride in a passing vehicle while standing at the side of a road, generally by either sticking out one's finger or thumb or holding a sign with one's stated destination.
    • 1972, Lou Reed (lyrics and music), “Walk on the Wild Side”, in Transformer:
      Holly came from Miami, F-L-A / Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A.
  2. (by extension) To be carried along with something else.
    In genetic hitchhiking, a gene is propagated because it occurs in conjunction with a favourable mutation.
    In cultural hitchhiking, a cultural trait spreads with a technologically advanced population.
    • 2022 September 29, Carl Zimmer, “A New Approach to Spotting Tumors: Look for Their Microbes”, in The New York Times[1]:
      We are constantly being exposed to fungi, whether by picking up spores on our skin or eating food on which fungi are hitchhiking. Most of them won’t take up residence in our bodies.




hitchhike (plural hitchhikes)

  1. A journey made by hitchhiking.
  2. (radio, advertising) Alternative form of hitchhiker (advertisement at the end of a programme)
    • 1952, Frank Emerson Andrews, Corporation Giving, page 183:
      There are just too many diseases for each to have its own special organization, complete with radio hitchhikes, sponsored ads, expensive brochures, pledge cards, team captains and collection envelopes.

See also[edit]