How Did the Phrase “Rode Roughshod” For Doing Something Crudely Originate and What Does the Expression Mean?

To ride roughshod over something means to have done something without regard or consideration for finesse or good manners.

Roughshod refers to the once common practice of leaving the nails stuck out of a horses’ shoes to keep the animal from slipping if it were going across country or through the bush.

If roughshod horses passed over a garden or manicured lawn, the area would be torn up and completely destroyed.

Why when someone has done something crudely do we say they “rode roughshod” over the situation?

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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