\ 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 Workers will wear personal protective gear, such as masks and face shields, and practice social distancing while delivering their messages. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland to send workers door to door to encourage safe practices as city reopens from coronavirus crisis," 14 May 2020 Keeping crews safe becomes even more complicated with actors who must film intimate scenes, in which wearing personal protective gear is not possible. NBC News, "Lights, camera, hand sanitizer! Hollywood looks to reopen under a new normal," 11 May 2020 Surgeons and nurses repairing knees and replacing hips will use some protective gear potentially needed by their peers treating COVID-19 patients. oregonlive, "In midst of pandemic, Oregon hospitals cut workers’ pay, require furloughs," 8 May 2020 Crew members on Ghattas’ London flight weren’t wearing protective gear; on her repatriation flight to Lebanon, flight attendants wore full hazmat suits. Sara Clemence, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Safe Is it to Fly? 7 Recent Passengers on What's Changed," 6 May 2020 More than one in four complaints involved health care facilities, where problems included a lack of masks, respirators and other protective gear. Donovan Slack, Dennis Wagner And Dan Keemahill, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus at work: Safety inspectors reviewing scores of employee hospitalizations, deaths," 1 May 2020 All of the church’s employees wear face masks and gloves, but the church doesn’t ask people attending the outdoor worship events to wear such gear. Peggy O’hare,, "Some S.A. churches to welcome back worshipers this Sunday — with social distancing and protections for seniors," 30 Apr. 2020 Still, the notice shook up some of the tenants who feared workers who may not be wearing protective gear would enter their homes. Cary Spivak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "COVID-19 doesn't stop Berrada workers from replacing windows, doors in occupied apartments," 30 Apr. 2020 Nurses who lean into cars to swab patients themselves wear full-length protective gear, including a face shield. Dallas News, "Meet Dolores Diaz, the Dallas nurse who has led the county’s coronavirus drive-through testing centers," 24 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Remington introduced the Model 32 O/U in 1931, specifically gearing it toward the target market. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "The 10 Best Trap Guns Ever," 5 May 2020 It is geared toward families with young children (preferably ages 2-6) but all are welcome. oregonlive, "Homes and gardens events around Portland: Antique and Collectible Show, workshops, pruning demos and more," 6 Mar. 2020 If anything, the physical standards were tightened up, and it was geared strictly at me. John Ismay, New York Times, "The True Story of the First Woman to Finish Special Forces Training," 28 Feb. 2020 About 20% of Fitz Forward’s rehabbed homes were marketed as affordable housing, meaning they will be geared toward those making 80% or less of the area median income, which is $45,440 for a two-person household. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit neighborhood redevelopment project to take 3 times longer than promised," 21 Feb. 2020 They were geared toward middle and high school students and their parents. Pomerado News, "Girl Scout aims to help stressed teens with mental health issues," 26 July 2019 The changes surrounding iTunes were part of a string of announcements on the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, an event geared at encouraging developers to keep building apps for Apple’s ecosystem. Suhauna Hussain,, "Apple replaces iTunes on Mac with three separate apps," 3 June 2019 But it is geared toward top executives rather than rank-and-file employees, and Fortune 500 companies rather than startup darlings. Liz Hoffman, WSJ, "Morgan Stanley, in Its Biggest Deal Since Crisis, Courts Future Millionaires," 11 Feb. 2019 Some books have been republished in South Korea, but English translations remain scarce and geared largely toward dissident memoirs. E. Tammy Kim, New York Times, "A Novel From North Korea Offers Glimpses of the Everyday," 5 May 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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 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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