\ 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The conversations so far seems to center on keeping inflation from getting stuck in low gear. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "Trump Urges ‘Big’ Rate Cut as Fed Faces Challenges," 16 Sep. 2019 Can coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitch Trubisky get the Bears offense in gear against the Broncos defense? Dan Wiederer,, "Can the Bears beat the Broncos in Denver on Sunday? Our writers make their picks.," 14 Sep. 2019 While in Syria, Asainov sometimes sent messages with photographs from the battlefield showing he and other IS fighters in combat gear, the papers say. Washington Post, "Defiant terror defendant makes lawyer enter not guilty plea," 11 Sep. 2019 There are only about 400 of the whales, which are prone to entanglement in fishing gear., "New England news in brief," 5 Sep. 2019 As documented by The Advocate, video from the event appears to show police in full riot gear and an officer pepper spraying those there to oppose the brief march that featured several messages of support for President Donald Trump. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "The Straight Pride Parade Was a Reminder that Queer Liberation Must Be Anti-Racist," 3 Sep. 2019 The sip was a hit in its native Italy as an aperitivo—a sort of light, low-ABV pre-dinner drink meant to refresh you from the day and get your appetite in gear for the evening. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The History of the Aperol Spritz," 24 Aug. 2019 After three hours, hazmat workers in full protective gear entered the building and retrieved two employees who may have come in contact with the mercury. Dallas News, "It's been a year. So, what actually happened when mercury spilled in the Coppell mail center?," 10 Aug. 2019 For the episode, Nick, Molly and Jeremy (played by Siena Agudong, Lauren Lindsey Donzis and Kalama Epstein respectively) join Ed (Astin) and Liz (Hart) in full ’90s gear. Tomás Mier,, "Melissa Joan Hart Looks Ageless as She Revives Her Iconic Clarissa Explains It All Character," 1 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Democrats, then and now, argue that the inquiry was insufficient and geared more toward clearing President Trump’s Supreme Court pick than toward uncovering the truth. New York Times, "During Kavanaugh Hearings, Senator Alerted F.B.I. to New Allegation," 16 Sep. 2019 Oregon State ran up 549 yards despite gearing it down with second and third-team players during the second half. oregonlive, "Oregon State takes a satisfying 45-7 win over Cal Poly into an off week, but injuries are mounting," 15 Sep. 2019 Staging costs vary and come in two variations, but are geared to maximize visual appeal. Anchorage Daily News, "You were about to put your home on the market, then heard BP is pulling out of Alaska. What now?," 14 Sep. 2019 The Bravest Knight, which is gearing to debut the back half of its first season on Hulu this Oct. 11, is a product of that freedom on the digital space. Nick Romano,, "How The Bravest Knight is turning the tide for LGBTQ kids programming," 6 Sep. 2019 Both engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission gearing power to all four wheels via BMW’s xDrive four-wheel-drive system. Arv Voss, Houston Chronicle, "BMW launches first-ever X7," 23 Aug. 2019 Those numbers should grow in the Tiger’s new run-option attack geared to capitalize on Burrow’s dual-threat abilities and the team’s abundance of playmakers. Edgar Thompson,, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 6 LSU could challenge Alabama in SEC West," 19 Aug. 2019 That technique combines deep learning, primarily used for recognizing patterns, with reinforcement learning, geared around learning based on reward signals, such as a score in a game or victory or defeat in a game like chess. Gary Marcus, WIRED, "DeepMind's Losses and the Future of Artificial Intelligence," 14 Aug. 2019 Fully recovered from last year's knee injury, Johnson is the most complete back in the Lions' revamped running back room and should be the focal point of an offense geared more towards running the football this fall. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson worthy of 20-plus touches a game in 2019," 24 July 2019

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

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for gear

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

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More Definitions for gear


How to pronounce gear (audio)

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

What made you want to look up gear? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not being in agreement or harmony

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