noun rach·et \ˈra-chət\

variant of

  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

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to decrease in size, extent, or degree

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