\ 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 \ -​ləs How to pronounce gearless (audio) \ 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

The sun stretched over the mountains as teachers put down their coffee and strapped into bulletproof vests, goggles and protective head gear. Morgan Smith,, "A new staple of schoolteacher training: Active shooter drills," 7 July 2019 Others mixed and matched sports, with plenty of Cubs and White Sox caps paired with U.S. soccer gear, and other national teams like Spain and Mexico sprinkled in. Patrick M. O'connell,, "Chicago fans cheer for World Cup champs and equal pay for women," 7 July 2019 Eco-pesticides used in Germany have had a limited effect, while special teams wearing protective gear have been dispatched in firefighters’ lifts to attack the nests with blowtorches or big vacuum cleaners. Natasha Frost, Quartz, "Europe is under siege from a plague of incredibly hairy, toxic caterpillars," 6 July 2019 The sun stretched over the mountains as teachers put down their coffee and strapped into bulletproof vests, goggles and protective head gear. Morgan Smith, Anchorage Daily News, "Armed Utah teachers practice responding to school shootings," 6 July 2019 Throughout the day however, thousands of protesters laid siege to the Legislative Council building, and late at night a few hundred, mainly in their teens and twenties and wearing protective gear, broke in and occupied it for several hours. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Hong Kong protests: Dramatic images of destruction draw both criticism and support," 4 July 2019 Crews from San Mateo County and the National Guard — all wearing protective gear — entered the building the package was found in to conduct tests on the substance. Gwendolyn Wu,, "Facebook mail facility cleared after hazmat scare in Menlo Park," 2 July 2019 The photo of Harry and Prince William‘s mother featured the princess wearing a visor and protective gear provided by charity the HALO Trust while walking through the mine area, becoming an iconic image and example of her passion for the cause. Stephanie Petit,, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Connection to Africa — from Their Third Date to Tour with Archie," 27 June 2019 Every starter motor has a shaft with a little gear at one end. Ray Magliozzi,, "Car Talk: Long-term parking doesn’t have to drain your power," 23 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The next project on her to-do list is a food bank in Spring Valley, geared toward students who live off campus. Cortlynn Stark, Washington Post, "College student earns her place as youngest ANC officer in D.C. history," 13 July 2019 This is a year of perpetual motion, geared toward gaining the satisfaction that comes with confidence. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: July 12, 2019," 12 July 2019 However, HBO Max will also feature original programming that includes two films produced by Reese Witherspoon, four films geared toward young adults from mega-producer Greg Berlanti, and the following television shows, listed with details below. Marcus Jones,, "All the projects coming to HBO Max, WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming service," 9 July 2019 Use and support public transit and land use policies geared toward lower-impact living. Andrea L. Dooley,, "Take this first step for a zero-waste lifestyle," 2 July 2019 Bio: Jacob Hexa is a 22-year-old, non-binary, gay, multi-artist specializing in makeup, sculpture, and costuming who is currently pursuing a degree geared toward their passion in costume design. Angela Watercutter And Samantha Cooper, WIRED, "5 Queer People on How They Found Their Chosen Families," 28 June 2019 Like many other motorcycle clubs geared toward military veterans, only active duty or honorably discharged Marines and Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen can join their ranks. Deanna Pan,, "After a deadly crash, Jarheads rely on their brotherhood to confront tragedy," 26 June 2019 Clubs geared toward socializing, rather than treatment or behavior modification, are rarer still. Anna North, Vox, "“A place where you don’t need to translate yourself”," 24 June 2019 Concerned advertisers wanted assurance that their ads wouldn’t run on disturbing, harmful, or hateful videos, and some creators saw content geared toward kids as the solution. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "YouTube can’t remove kid videos without tearing a hole in the entire creator ecosystem," 21 June 2019

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

17 Jul 2019

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 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

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).


to complain fretfully

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