- to move by degrees (often followed by up or down): to ratchet prices up; Interest rates have been ratcheting downward.
Origin of ratchet1
- 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.
Origin of ratchet2
Related Words for ratchetdisk, drum, roller, prong, whirl, gyre, rotation, circulation, pulley, hoop, circumvolution, round, turn, gyration, circuit, twirl, pivot, spin, roll, ring
Examples from the Web for ratchet
Contemporary Examples of ratchet
Every message, action and gesture seems calculated to ratchet up the anxiety of those who are listening.Even After Hobby Lobby, the Religious Right is Still Terrified
July 6, 2014
Sean Hannity versus Michael Savage—these two conservative radio hosts have recently ratchet up their rivalry.George Zimmerman Wants to Profit Off Trayvon Martin’s Death
February 5, 2014
Dancers are suspended in midair like the cast of a ratchet Cirque du Soleil performance.
“Pour It Up” exists in a magical, ratchet room of requirement.
You should ratchet up the sanction and make it clear to Iran that they won't get away with it.How Netanyahu's Iran Policy Ends Badly
July 16, 2013
Historical Examples of ratchet
I set my ratchet scales against the sides, and nothing can dislodge me."Wee Tim'rous Beasties"
The ratchet wheel and pawl shown in fig. 48 are part of the lubricator.Gas and Oil Engines, Simply Explained
Walter C. Runciman
We think a ratchet wheel should not be employed with equidistant pallets.An Analysis of the Lever Escapement
H. R. Playtner
A ratchet prevents the arbor from being turned backwards by the spring.
The driving-wheel is assumed to be on the further side of the ratchet.
- 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 for ratchet
Word Origin and History for ratchet
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.