The Definition of Ratchet

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Raymond Santos
Lawson
English 100
14 October 2012
I Do It for the Ratchets
“Ugh, she so ratchet,” a common phrase when hitting the club or scrolling through any social media site. No, they’re not referring to the mechanical tool or the beloved Transformers character, their inferring to the new slang term that has established itself within a generation’s vocabulary. But how exactly does an everyday term such as ratchet become so twisted to the point where it’s new meaning no longer resembles it’s old one? As it once was mainly known as a mechanical tool used to repair clocks and roller coasters, it now has a entirely different definition. Although words may have an established meaning, as time goes by, that meaning may change, perhaps into something that is completely irrelevant. The Rise of the Ratchet

As originally defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a ‘hunting dog’ or ‘the barrel of a gun’ the word ratchet was once commonly associated with the ‘mechanical device consisting of a toothed wheel or rack engaged with a pawl that permits it to move in only one direction.’ Many have used this meaning as inspiration for their make believe characters such as Ratchet from the Ratchet and Clank video game series. But quite recently, the definition has drastically changed.

In the past two years, the word ratchet has completely taken a turn. Nowadays the word ratchet means ‘A diva, mostly from urban cities and ghettos, that has reason to believe she is every mans eye candy,” as defined by Urban Dictionary. The term is mostly used from high school students all the way to people in their late 20’s. It began to gain prominence through viral video sensations, Emmanuel and Philip Hudson. Their two videos for ‘Ratchet Girl Anthem’, one as an improv along with their official music video, has garnered nearly 42 million views on Youtube, establishing them as one of the pioneers of the ratchet movement. Another contributor to the rise of the term is rapper, Joe...
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