- 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 ratcheted
First, Republican legislatures have ratcheted up the attempts at suppression.Why Judge Posner Changed His Mind On Voter ID Laws
Richard L. Hasen
October 23, 2013
The IMF ratcheted down its estimate for global growth this week.The Business/Consumer Confidence Split
October 10, 2012
Many owe the lasting success of older players to the increasing value placed upon raw power as racket technology has ratcheted up.U.S. Open: Why Serena Williams Has Still Got Game
September 2, 2012
Because doing more, they say, would have ratcheted up expectations that he might win, making a loss all the more devastating.Many Candidates Are MIA in the 2012 Iowa Caucuses
December 9, 2011
Later in the day, she ratcheted up the sentiment: "Arghhhhh!"The Quirks in the Sarah Palin Emails
Shushannah Walshe, Michael Falcone
June 12, 2011
- 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 ratcheted
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.