\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gear


gearless \ -​ləs How to pronounce gearless (audio) \ 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

Yet humans continue to intrude, as illustrated by Michael Marks’s print of mountaintop-removal mining and Laura Ahola-Young’s drawing, incised into a sea-and-sky scene, of undersea oil-drilling gear. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: ‘Habitats’ at Target Gallery showcases the nature of creativity," 6 Sep. 2019 Partly owned by Major League Baseball, Rawlings is now the nation’s largest supplier of baseball gear, and also a heavy importer from China. Lydia Depillis, ProPublica, "Everything You Need to Play Baseball Is Made in China — and Getting Hit by Trump’s Tariffs," 3 Sep. 2019 Take up to half off tons of outdoor gear and clothing from brands like Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Osprey, The North Face, and others. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Labor Day Deals to Shop This Weekend," 29 Aug. 2019 Quincy police, for example, have received about $3,600 of Ring gear since November, most of which was donated, a police spokeswoman said. Hiawatha Bray,, "Amazon rings in police help for sales of doorbell security cameras," 28 Aug. 2019 Inevitably, as the research’s connection to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA)’s Warrior Web program suggests, the suit’s users could also include military personnel, who frequently have to carry dozens of pounds of gear by foot. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Scientists develop robotic shorts that make it easier to walk and run," 19 Aug. 2019 All of this gear was transported on the ice in a small sled that also served as a portable shelter during harsh weather conditions. Steve Hoffman / Forum News Service, Twin Cities, "Minnesota angler’s ‘Holy Boat’ utilizes ice-fishing tactics in the summertime," 22 June 2019 Police with riot gear could be seen moving into position along the march route., "Police, protesters skirmish in Hong Kong after pro-democracy march," 25 Aug. 2019 Police with riot gear could be seen moving into position along the march route. NBC News, "Hong Kong police use water cannon on protesters as pro-democracy fight continues," 25 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While the report is largely geared toward policymakers, experts say there are things consumers can do to help curb the vicious cycle of climate change and land degradation. Michael Nedelman, CNN, "Eat healthier, and you'll help save the planet, report says," 8 Aug. 2019 The catch is that because this therapy and related research are primarily geared toward men, no one is quite sure what the long-term risks are for women, Davis says. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "Testosterone Therapy Can Restore Women’s Libido—but Questions Remain," 30 July 2019 And whereas Grand Theft Auto is geared towards destruction, mayhem and murder, Judgement pushes players to behave. Matthew Gault, Time, "Judgement Is the Perfect Game for Getting Into Japan's Favorite Crime Series," 24 July 2019 Although Rossi’s early training was all geared toward getting him to Formula One and Road America is one of the most F1-like tracks on the circuit, Rossi has never finished well. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Alexander Rossi's ride around Road America is wild and fast but far from pretty," 21 June 2019 Even geared toward visitors, though, Carrigan doesn’t expect there to be huge demand for people to hang out in a retail shop to consume edibles. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "On-site consumption of marijuana edibles is now legal in Anchorage. But is there any consumer demand?," 20 June 2019 These products will be priced affordably, as the project is geared towards helping lower-income consumers in the area. Madeline Mitchell,, "Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation uses $100K grant to build grocery store," 6 July 2018 Just as the project is geared toward minimizing its impact on the environment, so was each step in its construction, Mr. Zirkel and garden officials said. Keiko Morris, WSJ, "In the Botanical Garden, Construction Workers Tiptoe Quietly," 6 May 2018 While some professional networking is geared towards employment opportunities or other specific functions alone, Shapr allows users to make connections for a variety of reasons from freelance work to mentorship. Stepfanie Romine, Indianapolis Star, "Looking for a new client, dream job or promotion? Just swipe right.," 30 Apr. 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

11 Sep 2019

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 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.

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 make a temporary encampment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!