• synonyms


adjective Slang.
  1. flashy, unrefined, etc.; low-class: ratchet girls wearing too much makeup.
  2. 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.
  3. extremely good; awesome.
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Also ratched [racht] /rætʃt/.

Origin of ratchet2

First recorded in 1990–95; from a dance and genre of hip-hop music originating in Shreveport, Louisiana
Related formsratch·et·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

    Agricultural Implements and Machines in the Collection of the National Museum of History and Technology

    John T. Schlebecker

  • 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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for rachet


  1. a device in which a toothed rack or wheel is engaged by a pawl to permit motion in one direction only
  2. the toothed rack or wheel forming part of such a device
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  1. to operate using a ratchet
  2. (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
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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

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."

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper