\ ˈgir \

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 \ 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

Our solution: Transform part of the room into a mudroom for corralling coats, shoes, and dog gear. Eddie Ross, House Beautiful, "Eddie Ross Offers His 4 Best Tips For Creating The Chicest Mudroom Ever," 9 Jan. 2019 But western gear is fully trending for 2019 and perfect for a bluegrass music fest. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Super-Hot Outfits Perfect for Your Next Concert," 28 Dec. 2018 Soon, the list of A-listers wearing PSG gear included Justin Timberlake and LeBron James. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "A Billion Dollars Later, PSG Wonders Where It’s Heading," 26 Nov. 2018 The Langguths’ letter included a photo of their family wearing UCF gear in front of the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. Bill Zimmerman,, "In tight Orlando real estate market, 'love letters' help buyers close deal," 30 June 2018 In June, Glazunov was charged with several felony charges for showing up at Rockline Industries, the same day he was fired, armed and wearing protective gear. Diana Dombrowski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Ukrainian man who had an AR-15 in open-carry parade indicted on allegations of illegally having guns," 20 June 2018 Customers wearing soccer gear during matches will receive a dollar off their first beer. Jamie Goldberg,, "Where to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Portland: List of bars, pubs, food and drink specials and more," 11 June 2018 The crowd at Tuesday’s event was largely clad in suits and professional attire, though a few fans were seen wearing Eagles gear. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Man takes knee during national anthem at Donald Trump's White House ceremony," 5 June 2018 Vionic also makes great winter gear, namely these cozy-lookin' boots with faux-fur trim. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Plantar Fasciitis Shoes, According to Experts," 4 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There is a popular and oft-repeated Hollywood misconception that movies starring women or made by women or otherwise geared toward women are not interesting to the moviegoing public at large. Vogue, "A New Study Finds That Movies Starring Women Perform Better at the Box Office Than Those Starring Men," 11 Dec. 2018 Inspired to encourage change, a group of young individuals, ranging in age from their late teens to early 20s, have come together to create a helpful guide to the upcoming elections geared toward young people. Brittany Natale, Teen Vogue, "Here’s Your Guide for Voting in the Midterms, for Teens and by Teens," 29 Oct. 2018 This year, soft-drink companies such as Pepsico and Coca-Cola have spent more than $20 million on Initiative 1634, a ballot measure geared toward stopping Seattle’ soft-drink tax from spreading to other cities. Joseph O’sullivan, The Seattle Times, "Corporate dollars gushing into Washington’s initiative campaigns spur push for new campaign-finance laws," 23 Oct. 2018 Subscription services seem geared toward customers who are interested in switching vehicles every month or so. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Audi’s new subscription service lets you swap vehicles twice a month," 21 Sep. 2018 The one challenge that comes with building products geared toward elections? Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook has a plan to protect the U.S. midterms. Is it enough?," 17 Aug. 2018 But for the most part, the local schools have been focused on adults, with occasional classes geared toward kids and teens 16 and under. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "If your kid wants to be a master chef, this school can make it happen," 9 July 2018 The department’s Aquatic Resources Education Program provided the libraries with rods and reels, tackle and some fishing books, specifically geared toward children. Christina Tkacik,, "Anne Arundel pilot project to loan fishing gear from libraries generates reel interest," 5 July 2018 Started with just 20 journalists, Quartz quickly found an audience by turning out a torrent of articles — some analytical, some quirky, most short — and charts geared toward tech-savvy business readers. Paul Mozur,, "Quartz, Atlantic Media’s business news startup, is sold to Japanese firm," 3 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

16 Jan 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 \

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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