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: a device made up of a wheel or bar with many teeth along its edge in between which a piece fits so that the wheel or bar can move only in one direction
Full Definition of RATCHET
: a mechanism that consists of a bar or wheel having inclined teeth into which a pawl drops so that motion can be imparted to the wheel or bar, governed, or prevented and that is used in a hand tool (as a wrench or screwdriver) to allow effective motion in one direction only
: a pawl or detent for holding or propelling a toothed wheel
Mechanical device that transmits intermittent motion or permits a shaft to rotate in one direction but not in the opposite one. Reversible ratchets are used on socket wrench handles and are convenient for tightening or loosening bolts in positions where a complete revolution of a wrench handle is impossible. They are used in mechanical jacks to lock the jack rod after each successive lift.