\ˈgir \

Definition of gear 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : clothing, garments

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 \ -​ləs \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There will also be WUCC giveaway gear for children. Madeline Mitchell,, "An ultimate guide to the World Ultimate Club Championships held in Warren County," 6 July 2018 China does have some success stories, including Huawei Technologies Ltd., the biggest global seller of switching gear for phone companies and the No. 3 smartphone brand. Joe Mcdonald, The Christian Science Monitor, "US tariffs could spur tech development in China," 5 July 2018 Looking for athletic gear that can transition to happy hour with the swap of a shoe? Katie Devlin, Vogue, "The Best Clothes to Work Out (and Sweat) in All Summer," 5 July 2018 This increased awareness has pushed the fire commission to take gear cleaning more seriously, Executive Director Tim Rutland said. Zach Despart, Houston Chronicle, "Amid probe of HFD, Texas fire commission adopts stricter rule on gear cleaning," 13 July 2018 As part of World Cup fever, soccer fans who wear gear from the two teams will get a 50 percent discount on the marine park’s admission through July 15. Johnny Diaz,, "Flipper the dolphin calls World Cup winner in Miami," 13 July 2018 For safety reasons, the Navy doesn’t allow divers to use scuba gear for those operations. John Ismay, New York Times, "Why the Thailand Cave Rescue Was So Difficult: A Diver Explains," 10 July 2018 Patagonia’s new Arbor collection of packs may borrow its looks from the company’s history, but the way this gear gets made is nothing but forward-looking. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Patagonia's New Packs: Inspired by the Classics But Built for the Future," 10 July 2018 Kokanee can be caught on trolling gear tipped with corn. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Warm Lake offers chance to beat the heat, catch some fish near Cascade," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But several states have already established housing designated as LGBT-friendly, where there are social events, activities, and discussions geared to the interests of gay and lesbian residents and the staff is trained to be alert to their concerns. Robert Weisman,, "Gay boomers look ahead to an old age colored by uncertainty and the help of friends," 9 June 2018 Performing arts camp geared to youths The Young Americans Summer Camp open to students in third grade to college will take place July 17-21 at Calavera Hills Middle School. Linda Mcintosh,, "Daughters of American Revolution keep marching news," 12 July 2018 Private therapy is the main source of mental health help for veterans’ families since health care provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is mainly geared to veterans., "Veterans’ Families Also Suffer From The Wounds Of War," 12 July 2018 New this year, the symposium will include teenagers by providing a series of workshops geared to 14 to 18-year-olds. Staff Report, The Aegis, "Harford drug addiction prevention and treatment symposium to be held June 21," 20 June 2018 Saturday’s concert officially opened the Bowl’s summer season — which, as always, meant an evening of nostalgia geared to the middle-aged folks whose subscriptions pay the bills at Los Angeles’ most iconic venue. Mikael Wood,, "What happened when Diana Ross sang 'Amazing Grace' on opening night at the Hollywood Bowl," 17 June 2018 City planner Eileen Franz told committee members Monday city regulations are really geared to ice cream trucks and canteen trucks visiting construction sites. Graydon Megan,, "Elmhurst aldermen to consider allowing food trucks, rooftop decks," 12 June 2018 The Audubon weekend featured events geared to young and old, from beginner to experienced. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Connecticut Audubon Hosts Migration Madness Weekend," 29 May 2018 If the fidget spinner theme didn’t tip you off, the fair is geared toward families and samples the best of what this big state represents. Julia Sclafani And Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "All the new State Fair offerings: wine tastings, silent discos, coasters and acai bowls," 12 July 2018

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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Statistics for gear

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gear

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

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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 \

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

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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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