Pronunciation: (rach'it),[key] —n. 1. a toothed bar with which a pawl engages.
2. (not in technical use) a pawl or the like used with a ratchet or ratchet wheel.
3. a mechanism consisting of such a bar or wheel with the pawl.
4. See ratchet wheel. 5. a steady progression up or down: the upward ratchet of oil prices.
—v.t., v.i. to move by degrees (often fol. by up or down): to ratchet prices up; Interest rates have been ratcheting downward.