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 ?
And the brain interprets a drop in leptin as a sign that you're starving, so it ratchets down your metabolic rate.
"Can a man rotate a 150-meter rod?" The enzyme can spin a long filament because it ratchets down the rotation rate when it carries a heavy load, he explains, suggesting that F1-ATPase can change gears-as a good motor should.