\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

Other members have taken hard stances on Huawei gear, but New Zealand has long shrugged off security concerns about the equipment and allowed it to be installed essentially without limits. Rachel Pannett, WSJ, "New Zealand Bars Huawei From Its 5G Network Over Security Fears," 28 Nov. 2018 The story certainly plays up the distant, forbidding Alaskan setting, where the sun sets at 3:30PM, the temperatures are lethal, and Medora regards Russell’s ordinary outdoor survival gear with something between contempt and pity. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Netflix’s Hold the Dark throws Jeffrey Wright to the wolves," 28 Sep. 2018 Further, instructions for handling require precautionary measures for handling chemicals and suggest wearing protective respiration gear, gloves, and safety glasses. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Teenagers in Indonesia Are Reportedly Boiling Menstrual Pads to Get High," 15 Nov. 2018 Oxalis provided the caving gear, and porters carried our bags ahead to the first campsite. Patrick Scott, WSJ, "A Blow-Your-Mind Adventure in Vietnam’s Caves," 13 Nov. 2018 However, an intense flashback suggests otherwise: a young, terrified Jack wearing tactical gear is shown cradling someone bloodied in his arms, in what appears to be a battle scene. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Fans Have the Most Heartbreaking Theory About Jack's Brother Nicky," 26 Sep. 2018 The actress also proudly photographed Nick decked out in Angels gear and swinging a bat at home base. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Kissed and Fed Each Other Cake on His Birthday," 17 Sep. 2018 Donning turnout gear and his air mask, Carter and the crew captain entered through the front door without a hose line. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 For parts of the nine-hour journey out of the cave the boys have worn scuba gear, swimming through murky water. Bo Emerson, ajc, "Cave rescuers in Southeast watch their Thai colleagues with admiration," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Back then, the global economy was coming off a period of rebounding following the financial crisis and the eurozone’s debt crisis was gearing toward its peak. Mischa Frankl-duval, WSJ, "Many Investors Expect Global Growth to Slow," 18 Sep. 2018 Fox is gearing down on its original series this fall and shifting toward more sports programming. Danielle Turchiano,, "'Ghosted' canceled by Fox after one season," 28 June 2018 Check out your local senior center for physical exercise programs geared specifically for older people such as aerobic fitness & body toning, yoga, ballroom dance and Zumba. Cassie Armstrong,, "National Senior Health & Fitness Day: How to celebrate in Central Florida," 30 May 2018 After a string of arrests for various infractions, he was eventually shipped off to a Texas prison that had a program geared specifically for addicts. Mike Scott,, "Just what the (voodoo) doctor ordered: Or, how Mac Rebennack become Dr. John," 5 May 2018 This is the second time in a year that Washington is gearing to respond militarily in Syria. Jennifer Jacobs, Time, "Here's What Could Be Stopping President Trump From Striking Syria – for Now," 12 Apr. 2018 In addition, Jared Leto is also gearing to release his documentary A Day in the Life of America. Mackenzie Cummings-grady, Billboard, "Thirty Seconds To Mars Unveil Title and Track List For Forthcoming Fifth Album," 22 Mar. 2018 Dates are being mapped out through September, and with the tour getting rolling this spring, DeLeo and the rest of STP are gearing to commune with fans who have been waiting nearly five years to see the band play live. Dave Gil De Rubio, sacbee, "Stone Temple Pilots head to Sacramento," 9 Mar. 2018 And as seems to be true in North Dakota, voting restrictions enacted by Republicans appear to be geared more toward preventing minority voters — who more often vote for Democrats — from casting a ballot. German Lopez, Vox, "North Dakota’s new voting restrictions seem aimed at Native Americans who vote Democrat," 31 Oct. 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

4 Dec 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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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