\ ˈgir How to pronounce gear (audio) \

Definition of gear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

b : movable property : goods
2 : equipment, paraphernalia fishing gear
3a : the rigging of a ship or boat
b : the harness especially of horses
4 dialectal, chiefly British : absurd talk : nonsense
5 dialectal, chiefly British : doings
6a(1) : a mechanism that performs a specific function in a complete machine steering gear
(2) : a toothed wheel
(3) : working relation, position, order, or adjustment got her career in gear
(4) : a level or pace of functioning kicked their performance into high gear
b : one of two or more adjustments of a transmission (as of a bicycle or motor vehicle) that determine mechanical advantage, relative speed, and direction of travel


geared; gearing; gears

Definition of gear (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to provide (machinery) with gearing (see gearing sense 2)
b : to connect by gearing (see gearing sense 1)
2a : to make ready for effective operation
b : to adjust so as to match, blend with, or satisfy something gearing wages to productivity

intransitive verb

1a British, of machinery : to be in gear : mesh
b : shift sense 1c gear down
2 : to become adjusted so as to match, blend, or harmonize The industry is geared to meet growing consumer demand.

Illustration of gear

Illustration of gear


G gear 6a(2)

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gear


gearless \ -​ləs How to pronounce gearless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of gear in a Sentence


I somehow managed to pack all my gear into one suitcase. soldiers in full combat gear a complicated arrangement of gears and shafts a car with four forward gears Halfway up the hill, my bike slipped out of gear.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The teams transported rescue climbers and gear to the top of the cliffs using the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway., "A rock climber was airlifted from a ledge on a cliff face after he fell 50 feet and sustained life-threatening injuries, resulting in a harrowing rescue mission Sunday morning in the White Mountains, officials said.," 17 Sep. 2019 As salmon fishing winds down, hundreds of boats of all gear types and sizes are going after cod, rockfish, perch, flounders, Alaska pollock and many other species. Anchorage Daily News, "Warmer waters threaten to make the commercial salmon fishery less predictable," 17 Sep. 2019 According to Oceana, entanglements in fishing gear and collisions with ships are the greatest threats to right whales in 2019. Kelli Bender,, "Ninth North Atlantic Right Whale Found Dead This Year, Strengthening Extinction Concerns," 17 Sep. 2019 Brandin Cooks has an extra gear of speed Cooks showed his acceleration late in a route that resulted in a 57-yard completion. Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, "What we learned from the Rams’ 27-9 win over the New Orleans Saints," 16 Sep. 2019 Dickerson also has that extra gear that gets under the skin of defensive lineman. Michael Casagrande |, al, "Raekwon Davis met his physical match on Alabama O-line, loves him anyway," 16 Sep. 2019 In completing the climb, Honnold became the first person to ever climb El Capitan without ropes or safety gear. Trilby Beresford, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: 'Free Solo' Sweeps Creative Arts Categories, Including Direction, Cinematography," 15 Sep. 2019 Mayor London Breed keeps emergency gear on hand as well. Willie Brown,, "Pundits laugh at Andrew Yang. Regular people don’t," 14 Sep. 2019 Outside does not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Ac Shilton, Outside Online, "Flask Cocktails You Can Drink in the Backcountry," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The whole series is geared around gathering that sympathy and throwing it back in the viewer’s face. Adam Wilson, Harper's magazine, "Good Bad Bad Good," 16 Sep. 2019 The priorities of Sunbelt cities are geared toward building water reserves for future residents, while rural users hope to hang on to their farms despite water scarcity, agricultural consolidation, and rising temperatures. Max Holleran, The New Republic, "The Water Wars Are Here," 13 Sep. 2019 Nonetheless, some of his strategies are clearly geared toward contrasting his record and plans from sweeping changes proposed by challengers on the left — Warren and Bernie Sanders. Dareh Gregorian, NBC News, "Democrats prep for debate: Watch the clock, no cursing, who will strike first," 12 Sep. 2019 Other apps are geared toward museumgoers: Smartify, for example, takes an educational approach, teaming up with museums and sometimes galleries to upload digitized versions of their collections, wall texts, and information about artists. Sophie Haigney, New York Times, "Wondering Who Did That Painting? There’s an App (or Two) for That," 11 Sep. 2019 Lecturing is minimized, classes are small — with a maximum of 14 students — and assignments are geared toward real-world problem solving. Ben Brazil, Daily Pilot, "Irvine school provides a STEM education to children with disabilities," 10 Sep. 2019 Now, the focus is geared toward two new challenges. Vincent Nguyenstaff Writer, La Cañada Valley Sun, "Girls’ Tennis Preview: La Cañada embraces new division hurdles," 4 Sep. 2019 Rodarte's romantic, frilly, and esoteric designs may at first glance feel geared toward a specific person. Michelle Li, Teen Vogue, "Lili Reinhart, Rowan Blanchard, Yalitza Aparicio, And More Appear In Rodarte's Latest Spring Look Book," 4 Sep. 2019 The programs that did exist were geared mostly toward adults. Michelle Pitcher, The Mercury News, "New center helps teens evolve in their mental health," 23 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of gear


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1851, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for gear


Middle English gere, from Old Norse gervi, gǫrvi; akin to Old English gearwe equipment, clothing, gearu ready — more at yare


derivative of gear entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gear

Statistics for gear

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gear

The first known use of gear was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gear



English Language Learners Definition of gear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: supplies, tools, or clothes needed for a special purpose
: a toothed wheel in a machine
: a part that connects the engine of a vehicle or the pedals of a bicycle to the wheels and controls the speed at which the wheels turn



English Language Learners Definition of gear (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (something) suitable for a particular use or type of person


\ ˈgir How to pronounce gear (audio) \

Kids Definition of gear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : equipment camping gear
2 : a group of parts that has a specific function in a machine steering gear
3 : a toothed wheel : cogwheel
4 : the position the gears of a machine are in when they are ready to work in gear
5 : one of the adjustments in a motor vehicle that determine the direction of travel and the relative speed between the engine and the motion of the vehicle reverse gear
6 : working order or condition He got his career in gear.


geared; gearing

Kids Definition of gear (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make ready for operation We need to gear up for production.
2 : to be or make suitable The book is geared to children.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gear

Spanish Central: Translation of gear

Nglish: Translation of gear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gear for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gear

Comments on gear

What made you want to look up gear? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!