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 ?
While it's encouraging to see that risk experts, in tune with the zeitgeist, have at least ratcheted down their bonus expectations, anyone's got a lot of nerve if they think they still deserve a bonus in this economy.
In 2005, the alcohol limit was ratcheted down from 0.
Under mounting international pressure to produce a credible result, Mugabe's government and party ratcheted down the bloodletting that has plagued previous elections.
Instead, it has opted to focus on spin (talking about how Washington has ratcheted down spending growth to 1 percent--true only if you exclude 82 percent of the budget).
Expected to join Anthony in the draft in June are a bevy of other underclassmen whose teams' fortunes will have to be ratcheted down several steps: Oregon's Luke Ridnour, Marquette's Dwyane Wade and Central Michigan's Chris Kaman.
The survivors on the scene have ratcheted down their expectations and funding requirements accordingly.
Adverse reproductive effects might disappear if the Japanese team ratcheted down exposures to more realistic concentrations, adds Joe L.