ratchet

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ratchet

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

ratchet

[′rach·ət]
(design engineering)
A wheel, usually toothed, operating with a catch or a pawl so as to rotate in only a single direction.
References in periodicals archive ?
In general what we're seeing in the marketplace is a very strong desire to ratchet up the quality of service delivered over the Net, to students, prospects, donors, across the board," says Peter Dupree, chief technology strategist at Edgewater Technology, a Boston-based consulting and systems integration firm.
To ensure that your heirs--rather than Uncle Sam--are the primary beneficiaries of your life's work, you and your spouse should ratchet up these individual holdings in tandem with the rising personal exemption.
Alun Michael said they were "trying to ratchet up a clock whose springs are already broken".