1650s, rochet, from French rochet "bobbin, spindle," from Italian rocchetto "spool, ratchet," diminutive of rocca "distaff," possibly from a Germanic source (compare Old High German rocko "distaff," Old Norse rokkr), from Proto-Germanic *rukka-, from PIE root *ruk- "fabric, spun yarn." Compare rocket (n.2). Current spelling in English dates from 1721, influenced by synonymous ratch, which perhaps is borrowed from German Rätsche "ratchet."
1852, from ratchet (n.). Transferred sense attested by 1977. Related: Ratcheted; ratcheting.
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