- a pivoted bar adapted to engage with the teeth of a ratchet wheel or the like so as to prevent movement or to impart motion.
- to check or hold with a pawl.
Origin of pawl
First recorded in 1620–30, pawl is from the Dutch word pal ratchet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for pawl
The ratchet wheel and pawl shown in fig. 48 are part of the lubricator.Gas and Oil Engines, Simply Explained
Walter C. Runciman
As the wheel turns this arm will move as a pawl does on a ratchet.Steam Steel and Electricity
James W. Steele
A pawl or tongue one end of which engages in notches in a rack or wheel.
An' this ratchet-wheel isn't on the pawl prop'ly—not like what this book says it ought to be.More William
With a monkey-wrench he removed the two big wheels of the lawn-mower and reversed the pawl in the cogs.Tom Swift and his Motor-cycle
- a pivoted lever shaped to engage with a ratchet wheel to prevent motion in a particular direction
C17: perhaps from Dutch pal pawl
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for pawl
"bar preventing a capstan from recoiling" (nautical) 1620s, of unknown origin; perhaps from French pal "stake" [OED] or épaule "shoulder" [Klein].
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper