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 ?
If you throw out all the special-interest clauses, union-motivated power plays, and hair-splitting rhetoric in the bill, it is simply a document that ratchets down and reduces California's workplace flexibility -- whether one is an employee or employer.
And the brain interprets a drop in leptin as a sign that you're starving, so it ratchets down your metabolic rate.
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.