from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A mechanism consisting of a pawl that engages the sloping teeth of a wheel or bar, permitting motion in one direction only.
- n. The pawl, wheel, or bar of this mechanism.
- transitive v. To cause to increase or decrease by increments: "Some companies . . . may make things worse if they seek to ratchet down their medical expenses by limiting benefits for psychological or psychiatric care” ( Newsweek).
- intransitive v. To increase or decrease by increments.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A pawl, click, or detent for holding or propelling a ratchet wheel, or ratch, etc.
- n. A mechanism composed of a ratchet wheel, or ratch and pawl.
- n. A ratchet wrench.
- n. A procedure or regulation that goes in one direction, usually up.
- v. To cause to become incremented or decremented.
- v. To increment or decrement.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A pawl, click, or detent, for holding or propelling a ratchet wheel, or ratch, etc.
- n. A mechanism composed of a ratchet wheel, or ratch, and pawl. See Ratchet wheel, below, and 2d Ratch.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A detent or pivoted piece designed to fit into the teeth of a ratchet-wheel, permitting the wheel to rotate in one direction, but not in the other.
- n. In printing, a notched straight blade of brass which rotates the pinions attached to the movable clamps of an electrotype plate mounted upon a block.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. move by degrees in one direction only
- n. mechanical device consisting of a toothed wheel or rack engaged with a pawl that permits it to move in only one direction
French rochet, from Old French rocquet, head of a lance (from the shape of the teeth), of Germanic origin.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)