Old English tol "instrument, implement used by a craftsman or laborer, weapon," from Proto-Germanic *tōwalan "implement" (source also of Old Norse tol), from a verb stem represented by Old English tawian "prepare" (see taw). The ending is the instrumental suffix -el (1). Figurative sense of "person used by another for his own ends" is recorded from 1660s. Slang meaning "penis" first recorded 1550s.
c. 1300, "to beat with a heavy implement, make the ground firm by tamping," from ram (n.). By 1864 as "dash violently against, strike with great force." Related: Rammed; ramming.