Please help me figure out the meaning of the phrase "run roughshod over gems" in the following sentence from the description of the game Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells:

Bathroom trolls run roughshod over gems.

Please see the photo of gems below:

enter image description here

For more context, this is a match-3 game. Please see the following description from a different source:

Prove your Match-3 skill by beating levels to upgrade and unlock new spells and magic abilities which will aid your quest to conquer more difficult Match-3 puzzles. Get a chance to upgrade your spells as you prepare for the magically mischievous challenges ahead. (Google Play Store)

Here is a photo of a bathroom troll:

enter image description here

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    It's "unusual" phrasing, to say the least. I'd be prepared to bet money it wasn't dreamt up by a native Anglophone, so don't learn and repeat it! Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 11:38
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    ...the idiomatic standard is ride roughshod over [downtrodden victims' feelings], where roughshod refers to the horse you're riding having shoes with nails sticking out. But that meaning simply doesn't make sense with the variant (non-standard, "incorrect") phrasing and context cited here. Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 12:10
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica "Run roughshod over" is the AmE version of the idiom. Ngrams show that "run roughshod over" is twice as likely to occur in AmE as in BrE. And the opposite is true for "ride roughshod over".
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 16:37
  • @EddieKal: I'm surprised to see you're absolutely right! But only for younger speakers - back when I was learning English, only about 1 in 4 written instances used run, even in AmE. But it reached parity with ride in 1990, and is now the most common version in Ame. Which strikes me as curious, because I've always assumed Americans are more into horses and riding (or at least, remained interested for longer after we got cars) than Brits. But they've wholeheartedly dumped the word ride here, even though it more closely reflects the origin of the usage. Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 17:06
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Well, "run" is the most versatile English word.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


According to https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/run%20roughshod it means

to completely ignore the opinions, rights, or feelings of others

My guess is that the bathroom trolls love gems, and will hurt or dishonour others to get them.

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