I noticed the phrase “It comes with a hitch” in today’s (October 24) New York Times article, titled “Precious water: Empty fields fill farmers’ pocket,” followed by the lead copy:
“With water increasingly scarce in the West, a new program is allowing some farmers to sell their allotment of it for whatever price they can find, but it comes with a hitch.”
From the context of the sentence, I understand “It comes with a hitch” means “It comes with a problem” or “It faces an obstacle.”
I checked online dictionaries including Oxford, Cambridgie and Merriam-Webster, none of which registers the usage of “(It) comes with a hitch.” as an idiom associated with the word, “hitch.” But I found many examples of “Come with a hitch” being used, for example:
- Harry's' Trailers Come With a Hitch; Warners Forces Theaters to Run Double the Usual Film Previews. – Washington Post (Nov. 24, 2001)
- China’s high-speed rail record comes with a hitch. – Smart Planet (July 22)
- No Child Left Behind waiver comes with a hitch. – USA Today (Sept 26)
Shoud I understand “Comes with a hitch” just as a plain statment, not a fixed or well-used pattern of the words, I mean, an idiom? Is that the reason why no dictionary registers this expression?
If it isn't an idiom, which is a fixed word pattern, can I replace “(It) comes with a hitch” with “(It) comes with a glitch or an "obstacle” or "difficulty," "hardship," whatever to purport the same meaning?