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[rach-it] /ˈrætʃ ɪt/
adjective, Slang.
flashy, unrefined, etc.; low-class:
ratchet girls wearing too much makeup.
exhibiting or affirming low-class traits in a way that is considered authentic:
Better to stay a ratchet bitch than become a bougie poser like her.
extremely good; awesome.
Also, ratched [racht] /rætʃt/ (Show IPA).
Origin of ratchet2
First recorded in 1990-95; from a dance and genre of hip-hop music originating in Shreveport, Louisiana
Related forms
ratchetness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rachet
Historical Examples
  • The machine consists of several pulleys, a length of wire cable, and a rachet mechanism to give leverage.

  • Then a lever clicked over a rachet, then another; and the auto began puffing regularly, and moved slowly out into the street.

    Edith and John Franklin S. Farquhar
  • There is the creaking of a chain, and the loud tinkle as the check of the capstan falls into the rachet.

    Dracula Bram Stoker
  • Fig. 21 shows the connections of one automatic burner and two pendant or rachet burners.

    Electric Gas Lighting Norman H. Schneider
  • The chauffeur yanked the gasolene lever over the rachet, opening the throttle wider, and the car shot forward at increased speed.

    Batting to Win Lester Chadwick
  • He threw the lever over as far as it would go and advanced the spark lever to the end of the rachet.

    The Motor Boys Afloat Clarence Young
British Dictionary definitions for rachet


a device in which a toothed rack or wheel is engaged by a pawl to permit motion in one direction only
the toothed rack or wheel forming part of such a device
to operate using a ratchet
usually foll by up or down. to increase or decrease, esp irreversibly: electricity prices will ratchet up this year, Hitchcock ratchets up the tension once again
Word Origin
C17: from French rochet, from Old French rocquet blunt head of a lance, of Germanic origin: compare Old High German rocko distaff
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
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Word Origin and History for rachet



1650s, rochet, from French rochet "bobbin, spindle," from Italian rocchetto "spool, ratchet," diminutive of rocca "distaff," possibly from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German rocko "distaff," Old Norse rokkr), from Proto-Germanic *rukka-, from PIE root *ruk- "fabric, spun yarn." Cf. rocket (n.2). Current spelling in English dates from 1721, influenced by synonymous ratch, which perhaps is borrowed from German Rätsche "ratchet."



1852, from ratchet (n.). Transferred sense attested by 1977. Related: Ratcheted; ratcheting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for rachet



To change by increments in one direction: Gold had ratcheted down to 385

[1977+; fr the ratchet action of a winch or of a wrench, where an increasing pressure, torque, pull, etc, is registered by the clicking of a pawl on a gear wheel]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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