Meaning of Gabriel ratchet in English:

Gabriel ratchet


(also gabriel rache)
dialect British
  • (In plural and singular) a noise heard in the air said to resemble the sound of a pack of hounds, made by a bird or birds but often attributed to supernatural creatures or the souls of children who have died unbaptized, and thought to presage death or misfortune; (sometimes also) the creature or creatures making this noise.


Late 15th century; earliest use found in Catholicon Anglicum: an English-Latin wordbook.