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ratchet British & World English

A device consisting of a bar or wheel with a set of angled teeth in which a pawl, cog, or tooth engages, allowing motion in one direction only

ratchet knife British & World English

A type of small flick knife popular in Jamaica.

Muller's ratchet British & World English

A hypothetical mechanism having the effect of invariably increasing the number of harmful mutations in a population of asexually reproducing organisms, since genotypes with the fewest harmful mutations will be among those lost at random in an irreversible manner (likened to a ratchet).

ratchet effect British & World English

An effect whereby a trend or tendency in cost, demand, etc., is maintained incrementally so that it becomes, or appears to become, irreversible; also in extended use.

ratchet something up/down in ratchet British & World English

Cause something to rise (or fall) as a step in what is perceived as an irreversible process