Middle English riden, from Old English ridan "sit or be carried on" (as on horseback), "move forward; rock; float, sail" (class I strong verb; past tense rad, past participle riden), from Proto-Germanic *ridan (source also of Old Norse riða, Old Saxon ridan, Old Frisian rida "to ride," Middle Dutch riden, Dutch rijden, Old High German ritan, German reiten), from PIE *reidh- "to ride" (source also of Old Irish riadaim "I travel," Old Gaulish reda "chariot"). Common to Celtic and Germanic, perhaps a loan word from one to the other.
Of a ship, "to sail, float, rock," c. 1300. The meaning "heckle" is by 1912 from earlier sense of "dominate cruelly, have the mastery of, harass at will" (1580s) on the notion of "control and manage," as a rider does a horse, especially harshly or arrogantly. The verb in venery is from mid-13c.
To ride out "endure (a storm, etc.) without great damage" is from 1520s, literal and figurative. To let (something) ride "allow to pass without comment or intervention" is by 1921. To ride herd on "guard and control" is by 1897, from cattle-driving. To ride shotgun "ride in the passenger seat of an automobile" is by 1919, from the custom of having an armed man up beside the driver of a stagecoach to ward off trouble. To ride shank's mare "walk" is from 1846 (see shank (n.)). The ____ rides again cliche is from Hollywood movie titles ("Destry Rides Again," 1939).
1759, "a journey on the back of a horse or in a vehicle," from ride (v.).
By 1815 as "a turn or spell of riding." By 1787 as "a saddle horse;" slang meaning "a motor vehicle" is recorded from 1930. The sense of "amusement park device" is from 1934.
The noun in the venery sense is from 1937. To take (someone) for a ride "tease, mislead, cheat," is first attested 1925, American English, possibly from underworld sense of "take on a car trip with intent to kill" (1927). Phrase go along for the ride in the figurative sense "join in passively" is from 1956.
A ride cymbal (1956) is used by jazz drummers for keeping up continuous rhythm, as opposed to a crash cymbal (ride as "rhythm" in jazz slang is recorded from 1936).