Posted by TheFallen on June 04, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Ratchet Things Up a Notch or Two posted by R. Berg on June 04, 2003
: : Hi,
: : What dose this phrase mean?
: : Thanks in advance.
: To increase the amount or intensity of something just a little. (A ratchet mechanism makes physical things change by small steps rather than smoothly and continuously.)
Absolutely. The other main feature of a ratchet is that it is a mechanism based in its most simple form around a rotating toothed cog with one-way tooth (called apparently a pawl) preventing any backwards motion or slippage - it's the teeth in the cog that give rise to the "notch or two" part of the expression. Therefore any intensity or tension added by using a ratchet will not be released - you'd typically use a ratchet mechanism to tighten a long cable or wire.
It's this idea of increasing the pressure or tension in a situation that is at the heart of the idiom.