1757, "a rod used in ramming" (the charge of a gun or other firearm), from ram (v.) + rod (n.). Used figuratively for straightness or stiffness by 1939; also figurative of formality or primness (ramroddy, 1886). The verb in the figurative meaning "to force or drive as with a ramrod" is by 1948. Related: Ramrodded; ramrodding.
updated on April 14, 2021