\ 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

Coins, rock climbing gear, earphones and other miscellaneous items were taken from unlocked vehicles on Apache, Blackhawk Trail and Glenbrook Lane. Pioneer Press,, "Police blotter: Five cars entered in one night in Western Springs," 12 July 2018 Use products that contain permethrin to treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks and tents. CBS News, "Latest death shines light on tick-borne disease Rocky Mountain spotted fever," 12 July 2018 State Farm will provide free gear, WiFi and charging stations through its Neighborhood for Good program. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "You can get a free ticket to Forecastle by offering up a helping hand," 10 July 2018 The pause will give divers time to prepare gear, including masks and refilling air tanks, for the next round of rescue efforts. Erin Corbett, Fortune, "4 Boys Freed From Thailand Cave as Rescue Mission Begins," 8 July 2018 Orndoff plans to do this through donations of gear, as well as sponsorships on jerseys and other equipment related to the club. Shaun Goodwin, kansascity, "Blue Lion KC trying to break economic boundaries as it grows lacrosse in Kansas City," 6 July 2018 Patrons can borrow the gear, which was provided through DNR, throughout the year, according to Smith. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Patrons can borrow fishing poles, tackle, from Joppa Library," 3 July 2018 Or walk outside to the garden patio, full of strawberries (help yourself), flowers, birds, fish ponds and old fishing gear, overlooking wooden docks and a wide, peaceful expanse of Humboldt Bay. Richard Stenger,, "Everything you need to know about the oyster capital of California," 3 July 2018 Over the years, the potato was retrofitted with lockers and lights and shelves for the crew’s gear, promotional material and other potato paraphernalia. Bill Manny, idahostatesman, "New Big Idaho Potato has AC, a mashed-potato interior and cushy digs for Spuddy Buddy," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The dance party is Sept. 28, priced at $75 and geared toward the young-adult supporters of Mighty Writers. Grace Dickinson,, "Mighty Writers launches a festival of its own: MightyFest, coming this fall," 10 July 2018 President Donald Trump has geared his trade and tax policies around expanding the manufacturing sector. Eric Morath, WSJ, "Factory Workers’ New Perk: Job Security," 10 July 2018 The planes will use Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines. Christopher Jasper, The Seattle Times, "JetBlue places big order for newest Airbus A220 jet," 10 July 2018 Carleton’s fingerprints were found on the door handle and gear shift, King said. Jerome Campbell,, "Boston police arrest suspect in slaying of man shot on Dorchester street," 10 July 2018 Kobe Bryant’s latest Musecage video is geared more toward a younger audience. Alysha Tsuji, For The Win, "Kobe Bryant narrates Dr. Seuss-esque video on teaching kids about NBA greats," 22 June 2018 Telemundo now produces its own programming geared directly at U.S. Hispanics, filmed at its studio facilities in Miami, Mexico and Colombia. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Telemundo’s new headquarters embraces the future. It may transform this area, too | Miami Herald," 9 Apr. 2018 East Aurora High School, where the program is geared toward black students, has Soul Sisters. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora mentoring program aims to help girls build leadership," 7 July 2018 Something new — The food A lot of the hype over the new food offerings at the zoo has been geared toward adults. Enjoying a beer near the bear exhibits in the new Bear Garden? Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Everything (old and new) you should do at the zoo with your kids," 25 June 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

11 Sep 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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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