Word of the Week: #Ratchet

Sorry, gamers and repair people, you have lost this word to American Slang.

Ratchet has been getting a lot of mileage lately and will soon be considered mainstream slang, so get ready to pepper casual conversations with the word RATCHET.

With its origins in the south, RATCHET was one of those terms I would have previously considered “fighting words”, but thanks to music/ratchet artists, humor and people happy to reclaim the word, RATCHET has lost its weight.

The Urban Dictionary had the most straightforward explanation:


Something that doesn’t quite fit the picture; not necessarily having a ghetto connotation, it pertains to things that seem ridiculous in their given context.

You should be aware ratchet is not a synonym for “ghetto” Anybody who is obnoxious, unkept or disruptive and obviously relishes in it is RATCHET and can be a RATCHET

Here are some example of good, acceptable or necessary ratchet:

  • You are going to the movies and you sneak in chili cheese fries from 7-11 in your purse, that’s ratchet, but also financially responsible. 🙂 Just make sure not to be a ratchet and leave your trash on the floor.
  • Clothing is an area that most people have a little ratchetness. We all do. For example, those oh-so comfy slippers that look like they have been through hell and back and you refuse to let them go… ratchet (you are really ratchet if you wear them outside of your home!).
  • You get your nails done. They are glossy, fresh and fly and right before you leave to go out… SNAP! Broken nail. You decide to wrap lil nubby in a band aid and hit the club. That’s a lil’ ratchet. Now, while you are at the club, you use that hand to gesticulate and throw the other hot 4 in the air… sorry boo, you RATCHET.
  • I once attended a BBQ where the food was being cooked in a TRASH CAN (RACHET!!!). It turns out, the actual BBQ caught fire and melted when the guests were arriving, so rather than ruin the party and leave everyone hungry or waste the food, they used some ratchet ingenuity to feed the *hungry party goers!

*Not me, I don’t eat trashcan meat.

Okay, let’s visit the dark side of RATCHET.

  • A group goes out to dinner and no one has money to pay the bill: RATCHETS. Or you dine and do not leave a tip? Oh, RATCHET table 2!
  • Nine months pregnant and up in the club: RATCHET!
  • Any event held in an illegal location: that’s a ratchet function.
  • Rather than get dressed, you go out in PJs without your hair brushed and DARE someone to say something: R-a-t-c-h-e-t.

Need more help? Here is a great video from mizzskinny to help you along:

Main images via Wikipedia and Sony

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