Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

ratchet

noun ratch·et \ˈra-chət\

Simple Definition of ratchet

  • : 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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ratchet

  1. 1 :  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

  2. 2 :  a pawl or detent for holding or propelling a toothed wheel

Variants of ratchet

also

rachet

\ˈra-chət\

Origin and Etymology of ratchet

alteration of earlier rochet, from French, alteration of Middle French rocquet ratchet, bobbin, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German rocko distaff — more at rock


First Known Use: 1654

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


2

ratchet

verb ratch·et

Simple Definition of ratchet

  • : to increase or decrease (something) especially by a series of small steps or amounts

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ratchet

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to cause to move by steps or degrees —usually used with up or down <tried to ratchet down the debt>

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to proceed by steps or degrees

1972

First Known Use of ratchet

1972

Variants of ratchet

also

rachet

Rhymes with ratchet



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ratchet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to criticize in a loud and angry way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

frenetic philistine lazy melancholy
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ