"attack violently," c. 1200, from Old French assalir "attack, assault, assail" (12c., Modern French assaillir), from Vulgar Latin *adsalire "to leap at," from Latin ad "to, toward" (see ad-) + salire "to leap" (see salient (adj.)). The figurative use, of mental states, emotions, etc., is from mid-14c.; the meaning "attack with arguments, abuse, criticism, etc." is from c. 1400. Related: Assailed; assailing; assailable.
16c., from French furtif (16c.), from Latin furtivus "stolen," hence also "hidden, secret," from furtum "theft, robbery; a stolen thing," from fur (genitive furis) "a thief, extortioner," also a general term of abuse, "rascal, rogue," probably from PIE *bhor-, from root *bher- (1) "to carry; to bear children." Related: Furtiveness.
1560s, "lower in position, rank, or dignity, impair morally," from de- "down" + base (adj.) "low," on analogy of abase (or, alternatively, from obsolete verb base "to abuse"). From 1590s as "lower in quality or value" (of currency, etc.), "degrade, adulterate." Related: Debased; debasing; debasement.
"tend or care for; curry and feed," 1809, from groom (n.1) in its secondary sense of "male servant who attends to horses." Transferred sense of "to tidy (oneself) up" is from 1843; figurative sense of "to prepare a candidate" is from 1887, originally in U.S. politics; meaning "train to accept sexual abuse" by 1989. Related: Groomed; grooming.
1780, in reference to members of U.S. Congress, and it first appears in a piece of abuse (written by a Loyalist):
Ye coxcomb Congressmen, declaimers keen,
Brisk puppets of the Philadelphia scene ...
Technically of members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, but typically meaning only the House members. Congresswoman attested from 1918 (Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was the first).
also shin-plaster, piece of paper soaked in vinegar, etc. and used by the poor as a home remedy to treat sores on the legs, the thing itself attested by 1771; from shin (n.) + plaster (n.). In U.S. history, it became a jocular phrase or slang term of abuse for devalued low-denomination paper currency (by 1817).