1851, "feeling of a father for his children," from paternal + -ism. By 1866 "government as by a father over his children, undue solicitude on the part of the central government for the protection of the people," specifically "excessive governmental regulation of the private affairs and business methods of the people." Related: Paternalistic (1890).
mid-14c., hengestman, later henshman (mid-15c.) "high-ranking servant (usually of gentle birth), attendant upon a king, nobleman, etc.," originally "groom," probably from man (n.) + Old English hengest "horse, stallion, gelding," from Proto-Germanic *hangistas (source also of Old Frisian hengst, Dutch hengest, German Hengst "stallion"), perhaps literally "best at springing," from PIE *kenku- (source also of Greek kekiein "to gush forth;" Lithuanian šokti "to jump, dance;" Breton kazek "a mare," literally "that which belongs to a stallion").
Perhaps modeled on Old Norse compound hesta-maðr "horse-boy, groom." The word became obsolete in England 17c., but it was retained in Scottish as "personal attendant of a Highland chief," in which sense Scott revived it in literary English from 1810. Sense of "obedient or unscrupulous follower" is first recorded 1839, probably somehow a misunderstanding of the word as used by Scott.
This officer is a sort of secretary, and is to be ready, upon all occasions, to venture his life in defence of his master; and at drinking-bouts he stands behind his seat, at his haunch, from whence his title is derived, and watches the conversation, to see if any one offends his patron. [Scott, notes to "Lady of the Lake," 1820; his proposed etymology is not now considered correct]
"tough, uncompromising," 1961, from hard (adj.) + ass (n.2). Probably originally military. As a noun, "tough, uncompromising person," from 1967. Old Hard Ass is said to have been a nickname of Gen. George A. Custer (1839-1876) among his cavalry troops because of his seeming tirelessness in the saddle.
"to convict quickly and perhaps unjustly," 1873, American English, from railroad (n.) as the then-fastest form of travel.
A person knowing more than might be desirable of the affairs, or perhaps the previous life of some powerful individual, high in authority, might some day ventilate his knowledge, possibly before a court of justice; but if his wisdom is railroaded to State's prison, his evidence becomes harmless. ["Wanderings of a Vagabond," New York, 1873]
Related: Railroaded; railroading. An earlier verb sense was "to have a mania for building railroads" (1847).
name of the chief branch of the Teton Sioux people, 1837, from Lakhota (Siouan) oglala "he scatters his own."