\ 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 \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The site lists fish species available in Twin Cities ponds, lakes and rivers, as well as where rods and other fishing gear can be borrowed and whether fishing piers, playgrounds, picnic areas and restrooms are available. Star Tribune, 5 June 2021 Plug Power built its business making fuel cells for forklifts and other warehouse gear. David R Baker,, 3 June 2021 The new Sienna will have a 1,500-watt power outlet that can accommodate camping equipment and charge devices as well as a towing hitch for jet skis and other outdoor gear. Dom Difurio, Dallas News, 2 June 2021 Local activists have been calling for McMurray to resign or be fired since last summer when law enforcement used tear gas and other riot gear to break up crowds protesting racial injustice. Ashley Remkus |, al, 29 May 2021 Parade features people dressed in cicada costumes and other buggy gear. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 23 May 2021 Shoppers should also expect plenty of vinyl, cassettes, posters, concert t-shirts and music gear on sale. Michael Norman, cleveland, 21 May 2021 Masks and other gear were in short supply, so demand was high. Andrew Dawson, Forbes, 17 May 2021 Check out all the available Portland Thorns jerseys and other fan gear currently on sale for 54% off, including both the home and away kits, jackets and more. oregonlive, 8 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Both fighters will don 12-ounce gloves and will eschew head gear, and there will be no judges scoring the fight (though a KO can occur). Josh Katzowitz, Forbes, 5 June 2021 Also available for purchase: Bucs and Pilots gear like T-shirts, hoodies and hats. Katie Pesznecker, Anchorage Daily News, 4 June 2021 Odd that the man so serene in holding off Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen while battling the extreme challenges of a 7,800-yard layout couldn’t gear down and relax at quaint little Colonial. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, 27 May 2021 Defining their businesses in a separate category helps keep them small, as people who work in finance and other business services gear their offerings toward larger businesses, which are owned in greater proportion by men. Elizabeth Macbride, Forbes, 23 May 2021 Each option tends to gear an entrepreneurial venture toward one of two different types of value generation: generating profits or serving society. David Sher, al, 16 May 2021 Each wore a full combat uniform and hefted an M4 carbine weapon, water and a rucksack, gear that totals about 70 pounds. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, 2 May 2021 Tarrio, 33, promoted Stone's legal defense fund, launched an online store selling Stone and Proud Boys gear and led Latinos for Trump in Florida, which worked with the White House's political liaison office. Devlin Barrett,, 20 Feb. 2021 Companies often gear messaging toward the mainstream, but as the famous saying goes, sometimes the riches are in the niches. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 5 Apr. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for gear

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gear

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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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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