pawl

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English[edit]

A ratchet featuring a pawl (2) and gear (1) mounted on a base (3)

Etymology[edit]

17th c., perhaps from Low German or Dutch pal (catch (mechanism))[1], or from either French pal (stake) or épaule (shoulder).[2]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

pawl (plural pawls)

  1. A pivoted catch designed to fall into a notch on a ratchet wheel so as to allow movement in only one direction (e.g. on a windlass or in a clock mechanism), or alternatively to move the wheel in one direction.
    • 1910, Victor Appleton, Tom Swift and his Motorcycle
      A pawl is a sort of catch that fits into a ratchet wheel and pushes it around, or it may be used as a catch to prevent the backward motion of a windlass or the wheel on a derrick.
    • 1994, Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing:
      The nails in the rim of the wheel went ratcheting over the leather pawl and the wheel slowed and came to a stop and the woman turned to the crowd and smiled.
  2. A similar device to prevent motion in other mechanisms besides ratchets.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

pawl (third-person singular simple present pawls, present participle pawling, simple past and past participle pawled)

  1. (transitive) To stop with a pawl.

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ pawl” (US) / “pawl” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ pawl” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.

Anagrams[edit]