\ 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 gearless (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 As the gear was ready to be loaded on the bus, Cave Spring coach Jacob Gruse assembled the players and informed them that their season was over. Washington Post, "Recent high school grads help the cause on the front lines," 24 May 2020 The freedom to walk and cast and fish, unencumbered by lots of gear, was a special joy. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Shore fishing for bluegills takes on a new shine," 23 May 2020 Protective gear in some cases is of low quality -- thin masks are breaking. Houston Chronicle, "Scared and sick, U.S. meat workers crowd into reopened plants," 22 May 2020 The hottest protective gear in China right now is helmets. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "China Aims to Keep the Road Safe with ‘One Helmet, One Belt’," 20 May 2020 The reopening of the state will kick into the next gear at the start of next month. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky starts to reopen this week. Here's where you can go and what you can expect," 18 May 2020 Some 70 teachers and administrators from the high school gathered at the building, collected caps and gowns, then drove their own cars all over Avon Lake to hand deliver the graduation gear to 371 graduating seniors. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "Avon Lake teachers and staff hand deliver caps and gowns to grads," 18 May 2020 Protective gear is in short supply, with most of it coming from private donors. Time, "'Like a War Situation Here.' Ukraine's Overburdened Doctors' Desperate COVID-19 Fight," 18 May 2020 Most of the Mississippi State gear went to friends from church, with the rest set to be stitched into a blanket. Nick Moyle,, "Associate head coach Johnnie Harris wants to turn Texas women’s basketball into ‘a monster’," 12 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb On Friday, Oprah Winfrey will give a commencement speech on Facebook, geared not to a single institution, but to those graduating from many different high schools and colleges across the United States. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, "No Pomp and Circumstance? No Problem," 15 May 2020 Africa needs solutions geared to the African context. Efosa Ojomo, Quartz Africa, "African countries don’t need donated ventilators without revamping their health systems first," 2 May 2020 The White House and Congressional leaders were nearing a deal to replenish a program geared to keeping small businesses from shuttering and their employees from going on unemployment. Indystar Staff, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana coronavirus updates: What to know Tuesday," 21 Apr. 2020 The total dollar amount geared to the program is $600 billion. NBC News, "Federal Reserve unveils details of $2.3 trillion in programs to help support the economy," 9 Apr. 2020 Programming and lesson plans geared to arts education for K-12 students will be posted on the museum's Facebook page throughout the month. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Motown Museum launches online dance party, other programs as coronavirus shutdown rolls on," 2 Apr. 2020 Most of us want a dog geared to the foot hunter, not one for following on horseback or an ATV. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "How to Choose Your First Bird-Dog Puppy," 23 Mar. 2020 Options include a wide array of movies geared to the family audience, beyond just the obvious Disney titles. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Looking for movies with the kids at home? What to watch beyond the usual suspects," 17 Mar. 2020 But that will be a heavy lift indeed with a health care system geared above all to price-gouge sick people out of as much money as possible. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Why America is so vulnerable to coronavirus," 3 Mar. 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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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

4 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for gear


How to pronounce gear (audio)

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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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

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