\ 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

Players drop onto an island with very little equipment, then search for weapons, ammo, and gear while trying to be the last person surviving. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Counter-Strike GO becomes F2P, adds a shrunken battle royale mode," 6 Dec. 2018 Berry transformed a shallow, door-less closet from an eyesore into a charming storage space by lining it with striped wallpaper and adding decorative baskets for corralling toys and gear. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "Gray Malin Reveals His Twins' Beachy-Luxe Playroom," 26 Nov. 2018 To help you be fully prepared for your next outdoor workout, our editors tested tons of apparel and gear on their recent runs, swims, hikes, and more. Amy Marturana, SELF, "The 20 Best New Running, Hiking, and Swimming Accessories and Apparel," 12 Nov. 2018 On top of a headshot, be sure to get pictures of yourself from your chest up and a full body shot of yourself in swimwear or athletic gear (like a sports bra and shorts). Danielle Fox, Seventeen, "Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Model?," 17 July 2018 More consumer-friendly glasses that don't require wires or heavy gear are at least 5 years out. Geoffrey A. Fowler,, "Whoa! Meet the future phones that fold up, have 9 cameras and charge over thin air.," 6 July 2018 More consumer-friendly glasses that don't require wires or heavy gear are at least 5 years out. Geoffrey Fowler,, "Future Phones: They Fold Like Napkins, Have 9 Cameras, Charge Over Thin Air," 6 July 2018 The Discovery’s 100-inch wheelbase is nearly as short as that of a two-door Jeep Wrangler, but in a body that actually has space inside for people and gear. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "This Old Land Rover Is the Best Road-Trip Truck," 1 July 2018 The Trump administration has pressed allies to keep Huawei gear out of their networks. Todd Shields, The Seattle Times, "5G airwaves coming to market in broadest sale yet, FCC says," 12 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The show, which was geared to teach adolescents life lessons nd understand the value of morals, was on for three years, before exiting from television in 1995. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Here Are Seven Visual '90s Throwbacks in Bruno Mars & Cardi B's 'Finesse' Remix Video," 4 Jan. 2018 Buy a product that’s specifically geared to soothe the area (be careful of men’s after-shaves, which aren’t the same thing) or use a mild natural moisturizer like aloe vera or coconut oil to hydrate and protect your skin. Megan Gustashaw, Glamour, "So You Want to Shave Your Bikini Line...," 23 Mar. 2019 Instead, she's featured in new videos, books, and interactive activities geared towards families with children ages 2 to 6. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "'Sesame Street' Just Introduced a New Character Who Is Experiencing Homelessness," 13 Dec. 2018 Fans and even journalists are conditioned to think that all conversations between free agents and officials from NBA teams are geared toward coming to an agreement. Josh Robbins,, "Magic Mailbag: What’s the deal with Orlando’s point guard situation?," 12 July 2018 All are invited for free hands-on educational activities geared to children in grades K-8 and their families. Laura Groch,, "North County School News, April 19," 19 Apr. 2018 Garcia has vowed not to accept corporate PAC money and has returned a donations from a lobbyist, gearing him up for a tough race against the $9 million in air-time funding that Gov. Ducey has received from the RGA. Isabella Gomez, Teen Vogue, "David Garcia Could Be the First Latinx Governor of Arizona in 44 Years," 29 Aug. 2018 Foutris’ questions were clearly geared at suggesting the pair could have squared their accounts. Dan Hinkel,, "Chicago cop Robert Rialmo takes stand at civil trial over his fatal shooting of 2," 19 June 2018 The architecture and decor can feel a bit corporate, gearing it more toward wine nerds who would rather geek out learning about Washington’s winemaking methods than someone looking for an idyllic tasting experience among the vineyards. Jenna Scatena, Condé Nast Traveler, "Three Best Day Trips from Seattle," 17 May 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

22 May 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

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using a distributed computer network

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