- to move by degrees (often followed by up or down): to ratchet prices up; Interest rates have been ratcheting downward.
Origin of ratchet1
Examples from the Web for ratcheting
How do peaceful, non-antagonistic peoples prevent certain individuals from ratcheting up rage and creating divisive groups?The End of Us And Them: David Cannadine’s Quest to Unite History
May 10, 2013
In response to rising demand for durable goods like autos, companies have been ratcheting up production.Economic Data Show That, at Last, (Many of) the Fundamentals Are Sound
April 2, 2013
You can ratchet down sanctions, but ratcheting down war is sometimes out of your hands.A Sophistic Moral Case For War
October 27, 2012
Khrushchev said he would remove them “in due course,” but did he need some prodding by ratcheting up the blockade?The Commander-in-Chief Test: What the Cuban Missile Crisis Tells Us About JFK
David G. Coleman
October 16, 2012
The algorithm is forever ratcheting up spending and ratcheting down revenues.Why Jerry Brown’s Bid to Fix California’s Budget Isn’t Working
May 15, 2012
- 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 irreversiblyelectricity prices will ratchet up this year; Hitchcock ratchets up the tension once again
Word Origin and History for ratcheting
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.