A ratchet is a gadget with mechanical teeth on a wheel that moves in only one direction. Therefore, ratcheting is to move something slowly in one direction.

A ratchet is a device that allows you to move or crank something in a specific direction: a ratchet only moves one way. You can tell a ratchet by the wheel of mechanical teeth. Ratchets are part of larger devices, especially in factories. Also, if you ratchet something up or down, you're gradually moving it in that direction. You can ratchet something physically, or a great speaker could ratchet up the energy in a crowd.

Definitions of ratchet
  1. noun
    mechanical device consisting of a toothed wheel or rack engaged with a pawl that permits it to move in only one direction
    synonyms: rachet, ratch
    see moresee less
    type of:
    mechanical device
    mechanism consisting of a device that works on mechanical principles
  2. verb
    move by degrees in one direction only
    “a ratcheting lopping tool”
    synonyms: rachet up, ratchet down
    see moresee less
    type of:
    advance, go on, march on, move on, pass on, progress
    move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
Word Family