intermittent growth, increase, expansion, or the like:
the ratchet effect of defense expenditures.
(economics) an effect that occurs when a price or wage increases as a result of temporary pressure but fails to fall back when the pressure is removed


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  • Ratchet-jack

    noun 1. a screw jack rotated by a ratchet mechanism.

  • Ratcheting

    [rach-it] /ˈrætʃ ɪt/ noun 1. a toothed bar with which a pawl engages. 2. (not in technical use) a pawl or the like used with a ratchet or . 3. a mechanism consisting of such a bar or wheel with the pawl. 4. . 5. a steady progression up or down: the upward ratchet of […]

  • Ratchet-mouth

    noun Apersonwho is constantly talking; motor-mouth [1970s+; perhaps because a ratchet wrench can be operated without pause and makes a constant rapid rasping, clacking noise]

  • Ratchet-wheel

    noun 1. a wheel, with teeth on the edge, into which a pawl drops or catches, as to prevent reversal of motion or convert reciprocating motion into rotatory motion.

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