\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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This increased awareness has pushed the fire commission to take gear cleaning more seriously, Executive Director Tim Rutland said. Zach Despart, Houston Chronicle, "Amid probe of HFD, Texas fire commission adopts stricter rule on gear cleaning," 13 July 2018 As part of World Cup fever, soccer fans who wear gear from the two teams will get a 50 percent discount on the marine park’s admission through July 15. Johnny Diaz,, "Flipper the dolphin calls World Cup winner in Miami," 13 July 2018 For safety reasons, the Navy doesn’t allow divers to use scuba gear for those operations. John Ismay, New York Times, "Why the Thailand Cave Rescue Was So Difficult: A Diver Explains," 10 July 2018 Patagonia’s new Arbor collection of packs may borrow its looks from the company’s history, but the way this gear gets made is nothing but forward-looking. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Patagonia's New Packs: Inspired by the Classics But Built for the Future," 10 July 2018 Kokanee can be caught on trolling gear tipped with corn. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "Warm Lake offers chance to beat the heat, catch some fish near Cascade," 9 July 2018 The journey out is thought to include treacherous submerged stretches requiring scuba gear. Dan Murtaugh, The Seattle Times, "U.S. firm helps Thais to pump water from cave to save boys," 9 July 2018 The Gold Mint Trailhead, near the mouth of Hatcher Pass, served as the staging area for gear. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "A new hut with dramatic views rose up this summer in Alaska’s Hatcher Pass backcountry," 8 July 2018 The Chromat sale is still on, so get your summer gear right now! Faith Cummings, Teen Vogue, "Becca McCharen-Tran Says There Aren't Enough Lesbians and Transgender Women of Color in Fashion," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If the fidget spinner theme didn’t tip you off, the fair is geared toward families and samples the best of what this big state represents. Julia Sclafani And Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "All the new State Fair offerings: wine tastings, silent discos, coasters and acai bowls," 12 July 2018 Half of them, to be delivered via iPads, will be geared toward managers, and half toward employees. Rachel Feintzeig, WSJ, "Starbucks Urged to Pay for Police Training, Change Hiring Practices," 2 July 2018 The service was originally supposed to be geared towards the graduating seniors, but the shooting that killed ten people on Friday at Santa Fe High School, changed the focus. Brooke A. Lewis, Houston Chronicle, "Santa Fe church focuses on healing after school shooting," 20 May 2018 Subsequent models will be geared toward Jews and Christians. Sigal Samuel, The Atlantic, "A Design Lab Is Making Rituals for Secular People," 7 May 2018 Some of the housing would be reserved for low-income residents and much of it would be geared for those with middle incomes, helping to solve the region’s severe shortage of affordable housing. David Garrick,, "New plan aims to revitalize San Diego's sports arena area with housing, parks," 26 Apr. 2018 Instruction will be geared to strategic training in electric board assembly, mechatronics (tech that combines mechanical engineering electronics) and transportation logistics targeted for residents of Orlando’s Parramore community. Mary Shanklin,, "Valencia to complete job training center in Osceola," 24 Apr. 2018 Hannity said that Kimmel's apology seemed sincere but also appeared to be geared more toward the gay community, which was offended by homosexual jokes about President Trump. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Trump blasts 'disgraceful' raids on lawyer; Zuckerberg gets face time on the Hill," 10 Apr. 2018 About two-thirds of the project would be geared to independent senior living. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Residents pack Greenfield meeting for proposed 220 apartments instead of homes," 14 Feb. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gear

Statistics for gear

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gear

The first known use of gear was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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 reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!