\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

The dance now continues and switches gears as sound bites of Ailey and of Mr. Harris present a postlude suggesting them in conversation. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "New Works to Celebrate an Established Company," 12 Dec. 2018 Popular culture tends to stereotype ham-radio operators as tinkerer-geeks from a bygone era—and indeed, many ham operators enjoy fiddling with their gear and learning about how to operate their radios almost as much as using them. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Choose a Two-Way Radio," 10 Dec. 2018 Grab your winter gear because Hallmark's latest 'Countdown to Christmas' feature is going to inspire you to take a trip up north. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Hallmark's 'Welcome to Christmas' Movie Was Filmed in a Real-Life Winter Wonderland," 9 Dec. 2018 Some angry fans were even burning and cutting out the signature swoosh logos on their gear — and posting the results on social media. Jocelyn Noveck, The Seattle Times, "James says he ‘stands with Nike’ in reference to Kaepernick," 4 Sep. 2018 Whether that strategy works remains to be seen, but Samsung is clearly switching gears with the Tab S4. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung's Galaxy Tab S4 is a work-first tablet built to take on the iPad Pro and Surface Laptop," 1 Aug. 2018 At the Mall of Louisiana, the chicken joint will be giving away prizes to the Coolest Cow, Best Herd (so gather your family!) and Cutest Kid Cow who visit their restaurant and post a picture of their moo-worthy gear on social media. Madison Roberts,, "Chick-fil-A is Giving Away Free Food to Anyone Who Dresses Like a Cow Again," 9 July 2018 After expressing her dismay over the current drama surrounding the Supreme Court, the pop icon and social media enthusiast switched gears and revealed that her new album will potentially be dropping in September. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Cher Teases New Album For September," 1 July 2018 ESO Music Director Andrew Grams said part of what led to the gap was a donor who had been giving a significant amount decided to switch gears and give to another nonprofit. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin Symphony Orchestra launches crowdfunding campaign," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Back then, the global economy was coming off a period of rebounding following the financial crisis and the eurozone’s debt crisis was gearing toward its peak. Mischa Frankl-duval, WSJ, "Many Investors Expect Global Growth to Slow," 18 Sep. 2018 Fox is gearing down on its original series this fall and shifting toward more sports programming. Danielle Turchiano,, "'Ghosted' canceled by Fox after one season," 28 June 2018 Check out your local senior center for physical exercise programs geared specifically for older people such as aerobic fitness & body toning, yoga, ballroom dance and Zumba. Cassie Armstrong,, "National Senior Health & Fitness Day: How to celebrate in Central Florida," 30 May 2018 After a string of arrests for various infractions, he was eventually shipped off to a Texas prison that had a program geared specifically for addicts. Mike Scott,, "Just what the (voodoo) doctor ordered: Or, how Mac Rebennack become Dr. John," 5 May 2018 This is the second time in a year that Washington is gearing to respond militarily in Syria. Jennifer Jacobs, Time, "Here's What Could Be Stopping President Trump From Striking Syria – for Now," 12 Apr. 2018 In addition, Jared Leto is also gearing to release his documentary A Day in the Life of America. Mackenzie Cummings-grady, Billboard, "Thirty Seconds To Mars Unveil Title and Track List For Forthcoming Fifth Album," 22 Mar. 2018 Dates are being mapped out through September, and with the tour getting rolling this spring, DeLeo and the rest of STP are gearing to commune with fans who have been waiting nearly five years to see the band play live. Dave Gil De Rubio, sacbee, "Stone Temple Pilots head to Sacramento," 9 Mar. 2018 And as seems to be true in North Dakota, voting restrictions enacted by Republicans appear to be geared more toward preventing minority voters — who more often vote for Democrats — from casting a ballot. German Lopez, Vox, "North Dakota’s new voting restrictions seem aimed at Native Americans who vote Democrat," 31 Oct. 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

18 Dec 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

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