ratchet

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ratchet

a steplocking device on surgical instruments. As the handles are closed the jaws are also closed and the ratchet holds them in a locked position. The ratchet consists of a notched bar on each handle, the notches facing and overriding when the handles are closed.
References in periodicals archive ?
It's a pattern that has characterized consumer confidence for the last several years, and has produced a slight ratcheting down of consumer confidence since early 2004.
We've asked employees to look at options as a long-term retirement program," Connors added, while Microsoft wrestles with ratcheting down employee expectations and the dilution created by the generous options packages of the past.
Ratcheting down prices makes for shrinking margins and increasingly unstable alliances between hospitals and their voluntary medical staffs.
Reports from the government and a private group offered abundant evidence that economic growth was ratcheting down to a more moderate pace after clipping along at a rapid 4.
Doctors and hospitals were traditionally not very interested in Medicaid, but because of the continued ratcheting down of payments by commercial insurance companies, Medicaid is viewed by many providers as a more attractive payer than in the past.
The standards proposed by the ALA and the NRDC also prepare the way for some date in the next century when the EPA can call once again for ratcheting down the amount of pollution allowed.
In a deflationary spiral, firms with high operating leverage would likely lack the tools to respond quickly to weakening volumes and pricing by ratcheting down fixed or semi-fixed costs.
Ma, for his part, appears to be wooing Washington more successfully by burying the hatchet with Beijing and ratcheting down regional tensions.
The ratcheting down of Lewis' land inventories over the near term is expected to limit further increases in growth-related debt at Kaufman and Broad and reduce the risk of excess inventory and debt accumulation in the event of an economic downturn.
Therefore, the price of beef should be reduced to the current price of chicken, thus ratcheting down the cost-of-living index and the CPI.
The opportunity for big and short-term profits come from rapidly enrolling people and the ratcheting down of utilization.
The eventual compromise cut national sulfur dioxide emissions from their 1980 level by 10 million tons a year, on a glide path ratcheting down year by year until 2010.