\ 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

Other Words from gear


gearless \ ˈgir-​ləs How to pronounce gear (audio) \ adjective

Examples of gear in a Sentence

Noun 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 week, admissions will kick back into gear, meaning that refugees from around the world who have undergone all processing and checks will be allowed to come to the US. Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, 10 Jan. 2022 It’s [probably not a coincidence that this is being positioned right as the awards season is kicking into gear, either. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 5 Jan. 2022 Federal Aviation Administration leaders warned that some flights could be canceled if the 5G service kicks into gear before additional safety precautions are taken. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2022 Lillard, who had started to play better at the Clippers and Suns, kicked his game into another gear during a four-game homestand and led the Blazers to four victories to reach 10-8. oregonlive, 3 Jan. 2022 At almost the same time, David Keith, a Harvard professor and adviser to Bill Gates, was getting Carbon Engineering into gear in Canada. Vince Beiser, Wired, 28 Dec. 2021 After receiving activation orders and leaving their civilian jobs to change into gear, members of the DCNG did not arrive at the Capitol until 5:40PM. Jill Goldenziel, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 In true Hollywood fashion, omicron delivered the year’s biggest cliffhanger just as the holiday season began kicking into higher gear. Diane Garrett, Variety, 21 Dec. 2021 That, though, won’t kick into gear until after the New Year -- well into the omicron surge and after holiday celebrations and travel. Rick Klein, ABC News, 21 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The television cameras, during overtime, panned to a steamed fan in Steelers gear inside the stadium. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 10 Jan. 2022 This has allowed the company to survive $1.3 billion in negative free cash flow last year and gear back up for reopening. Chuck Jones, Forbes, 31 May 2021 Exxon Mobil has identified one basin that will gear oil and gas operations to net-zero in just 9 years. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 10 Dec. 2021 The Bushnell likes to gear the videos to the live performances that are happening inside the theater. Christopher Arnott,, 30 Nov. 2021 Once that is done, assess which skills are mentioned the most and gear your training toward the skills most desired by employees. Khadim Batti, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 College football coaches usually gather during the playoff semifinal and championship to offer their analysis, for example, and CBS has tried to gear a broadcast toward kids on Nickelodeon. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 27 Sep. 2021 Redirects well and does not gear down much when changing direction. oregonlive, 15 Sep. 2021 From food and drinks to gear showcasing your local autumnal squash love, the Queen City offers plenty of chances to totally pumpkin out. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 10 Sep. 2021

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

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best commuter bikes.

Learn More About gear

Time Traveler for gear

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near gear




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for gear

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on gear

Nglish: Translation of gear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gear for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gear


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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