verb (used with object)
  1. to check or hold with a pawl.

Origin of pawl

First recorded in 1620–30, pawl is from the Dutch word pal ratchet Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pawl

Historical Examples of pawl

British Dictionary definitions for pawl


  1. a pivoted lever shaped to engage with a ratchet wheel to prevent motion in a particular direction

Word Origin for pawl

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