from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A hinged or pivoted device adapted to fit into a notch of a ratchet wheel to impart forward motion or prevent backward motion.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. 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.
- v. To stop with a pawl.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A pivoted tongue, or sliding bolt, on one part of a machine, adapted to fall into notches, or interdental spaces, on another part, as a ratchet wheel, in such a manner as to permit motion in one direction and prevent it in the reverse, as in a windlass; a catch, click, or detent. See Illust. of ratchet wheel.
- transitive v. To stop with a pawl; to drop the pawls off.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A short iron bar acting as a catch or brake to prevent a windlass or capstan from turning back. See cuts under capstan and pattern-chain.
- n. A bar pivoted to a movable or fixed support at one end, and having its opposite end adapted to fit the teeth of a ratchet-wheel or ratchet-bar, used either for holding the ratchet-wheel or -bar in a position to which it has been moved by other mechanism (as in the case where the pawl is pivoted to a fixed support), or for moving it (as when the pawl is pivoted to a movable support).
- n. Cross pawl, in ship-building.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a hinged catch that fits into a notch of a ratchet to move a wheel forward or prevent it from moving backward
Probably from Dutch pal, from Latin pālus, stake; see pag- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from Low German or Dutch pal. (Wiktionary)