Ratchet up

Ratchet is not a word I recall having in my vocabulary a few years ago.  I probably knew that a ratchet was a sort of wheel with teeth or tool that was used to tighten slowly or increase pressure.


Now ratchet up seems to be very much in vogue.

After the Manchester bombing police are ratcheting up security.

It means to increase bit by bit by small regular amounts. Sounds a bit like torture!

The opposition is ratcheting up the pressure on the President over the loans scandal.

Of course, it reminds us of Nurse Ratched, in the acclaimed film One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, who was the stereotype of a mean wicked psychiatric nurse.


Have you been ratcheting up your spending on goodies this year?



Riveting and riveted


A nice alternative to compelling, gripping or all-engrossing is the word riveting

The latest Clint Eastwood movie is riveting. You can’t take your eyes off the screen.

Hers was a riveting display of gymnastic talent.

 Obviously the –ed version is riveted.

I was riveted by the story he told of crossing the desert as a child.


The word rivet itself refers to those metal or steel bolts that hold things together like two sheets of iron or even the seams on a pair of jeans. So when we say we are riveted by something, it’s like saying we were so fascinated by it, it was like being bolted to the spot. It tends to be used to describe positive experiences.

Despite this somewhat painful analogy, I like the sound of the word in its various forms.

Have you had a rivetingly good read lately?