\ 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

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Other Words from gear


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

Examples of gear in a Sentence

Noun 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In addition to utilizing the lists published by the FDA, services like Project N95 are working to help the public purchase safe, effective personal protective gear. Zoe Malin, NBC News, "6 best KN95 face masks and where to buy them online," 1 Mar. 2021 Last spring, one nonprofit nursing home group in Minnesota estimated that a 72-bed nursing home was spending $2,265 per day on personal protective gear and $1,500 a day on extra staff. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, "A second crisis looms for US nursing homes," 25 Feb. 2021 In forming quarantine bubbles, in donning protective gear just to buy groceries, in boiling our days down to only our most essential interactions, people around the world have been shown exactly how linked their lives and health are. Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, "A Golden Rule for a Semi-Vaccinated World," 25 Feb. 2021 Early in the coronavirus pandemic, China diverted exports of surgical masks and protective gear to its local governments and hospitals, leaving foreign purchasers empty-handed. New York Times, "Amid Shortfalls, Biden Signs Executive Order to Bolster Critical Supply Chains," 24 Feb. 2021 The emergence of Covid-19 and its rapid spread across the globe led to an immediate need for test kits, protective gear and treatments for the disease. Fortune, "The pandemic produced a new crop of billionaires. Now, their fortunes are fading," 24 Feb. 2021 The company plans to continue testing and screening workers for symptoms, and requiring them to wear protective gear and follow distancing protocols. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Trident Seafoods resumes operations at Aleutian plant in Alaska after monthlong COVID-19 shutdown," 22 Feb. 2021 Each group will be served their complimentary food by staff donning protective gear. Caitlin Mcfall, Fox News, "New York to allow only the wealthiest to enjoy in-person sporting events," 21 Feb. 2021 Such isolation has become commonplace in many correctional facilities, where minimal ventilation, limited protective gear, and overcrowding create superspreader conditions. Popular Science, "Solitary confinement can’t stop COVID-19 from spreading through prisons," 18 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Especially now, at a time when we’ve all been forced to gear back. Roy S. Johnson |, al, "‘Why buy it when you can make it?’ Alabama blogger blends modern home sewing with social justice," 24 Nov. 2020 Because the frequency of having it every month, there's not a lot of downtime between one date and then starting to gear back up to prep for the following date. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "Strictly Discs in Wisconsin, in a Pandemic: New COVID-19 Closures Are 'Getting Closer'," 16 Nov. 2020 By Wednesday morning, Samperio said his World Series merchandise had surpassed Kelly gear in overall profit. Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers World Series merchandise and apparel drawing record demand," 28 Oct. 2020 The company will provide paddleboards and gear for guests. Patrick Connolly,, "Halloween in Orlando: Things to do on the haunted holiday," 28 Oct. 2020 As for the unibody Sport SUV, Ford likes to describe it as the mule that will haul gear, bikes and kayaks to the trailhead. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "In the saddle of the bucking Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport," 29 Aug. 2020 The shooting drew condemnation from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who also called out 125 members of the National Guard on Monday after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear the previous night. Mike Householder And Tammy Webber,, "Fires burn overnight in Kenosha, Madison as father of Jacob Blake says son may be paralyzed," 25 Aug. 2020 The shooting drew condemnation from Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who also called out 125 members of the National Guard on Monday after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear the previous night. CBS News, "Protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin over police shooting of Jacob Blake turn violent for second night in row," 25 Aug. 2020 The shooting drew condemnation from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who also called out 125 members of the National Guard on Monday after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear the previous night. Arkansas Online, "Jacob Blake's dad says son left paralyzed by police shooting," 25 Aug. 2020

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.

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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

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Learn More about gear

Time Traveler for gear Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gear

Last Updated

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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.

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