- 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.
Etymology: Perhaps from Low German or Dutch palDutch, pal.
- 1994: The nails in the rim of the wheel went ratcheting over the leather and the wheel slowed and came to a stop and the woman turned to the crowd and smiled. " Cormac McCarthy?, The Crossing
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Full Definition of pawl