1

ratchet

noun ratch·et \ ˈra-chət \
variants: or less commonly
Updated on: 20 Apr 2018

Definition of ratchet

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 (such as a wrench or screwdriver) to allow effective motion in one direction only
2 : a pawl or detent for holding or propelling a toothed wheel

Recent Examples of ratchet from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ratchet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

Other Mechanical Engineering Terms


2

ratchet

verb
variants: or less commonly rachet

Definition of ratchet

: to cause to move by steps or degrees usually used with up or down
  • tried to ratchet down the debt
: to proceed by steps or degrees

Recent Examples of ratchet from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ratchet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ratchet

1972

in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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RATCHET Defined for English Language Learners

ratchet

Definition of ratchet for English Language Learners

  • : 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


ratchet

Definition of ratchet for English Language Learners

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



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