Etymology
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roughshod (adj.)

also rough-shod, late 15c., "shod with shoes armed with points or calks," from rough (adv.) "in a rough manner" (late 14c.; see rough (adj.)) + shod. Originally of horses shod with the nail-heads projecting from the shoe to prevent slipping on roads. To ride roughshod over something figuratively is by 1861 in that wording.

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Definitions of roughshod

roughshod (adj.)
(of a horse) having horseshoes with projecting nails to prevent slipping;
roughshod (adj.)
(of persons or their actions) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering;
Stalin's roughshod treatment of the kulaks
Synonyms: barbarous / brutal / cruel / fell / savage / vicious
roughshod (adj.)
unjustly domineering;
a manager who rode roughshod over all opposition
Synonyms: heavy-handed
From wordnet.princeton.edu