Definition of ratissage in US English:



  • 1A search or raid of an area by the (French) police or military (originally and chiefly one carried out in a French territory in northern Africa).

  • 2Economics. In French monetary policy: (originally) a device employed by the Banque de France whereby a portion of French commercial banks' foreign currency balances are called in, thereby temporarily increasing national reserves of foreign exchange; (subsequently) any similar device whereby reserves are temporarily surrendered to the central bank.


1950s; earliest use found in Time. From French ratissage, specifically use (not dated in dictionaries of French) of ratissage raking from ratisser to rake + -age.