\ 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


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

REI’s huge Anniversary Sale offers 30 percent off outdoor gear like apparel, hiking shoes and boots, backpacks, camping tents, sleeping bags, chairs, and electronics. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "Best Memorial Day Sales on Tools, Appliances, Electronics and More," 24 May 2019 Huawei filed a lawsuit against the U.S. over a law that bans government agencies from buying equipment that uses gear from the Chinese tech giant, arguing that the legislation is unconstitutional. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Chip Makers Get Caught in Huawei Crossfire," 16 May 2019 The military can also provide temporary housing and protective gear for agents. Alex Ward, Vox, "They can fly aircraft and lend support, but they can’t detain anybody — and more may be coming.," 31 Oct. 2018 The foursome fittingly sported matching Mickey and Minnie Mouse gear for the occasion. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Identical twin newlywed couples honeymoon at Disney World," 15 Aug. 2018 Soldering irons and other gear were seized, and some attendees reported being intimidated by security staff. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Caesars Palace not-so-Praetorian guards intimidate DEF CON goers with searches [Updated]," 13 Aug. 2018 Many e-bikes are powered by gear from Bosch, a German conglomerate. The Economist, "How two-wheelers are weaving their way into urban transport," 21 June 2018 Removing the plants requires special care and, most importantly, protective gear. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Towering, Toxic Plant that Causes Burns and Blindness Has Appeared in Virginia," 20 June 2018 Players drop onto an island with very little equipment, then search for weapons, ammo, and gear while trying to be the last person surviving. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Counter-Strike GO becomes F2P, adds a shrunken battle royale mode," 6 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Generally, events geared toward younger visitors are in the morning, with those aimed at teens and adults in the later afternoon. Cody Boteler,, "Catonsville library to host third annual Comic Con," 21 June 2018 While the banking giant has invested in workforce training, including for those returning from prison, this marked its first investment in a program geared to help divert young men still engaged in violence. Annie Sweeney,, "In hopes of stopping bloodshed, a multimillion-dollar effort is providing jobs, therapy to city's most violent," 8 June 2018 The 15-year-old is focusing most of her energy on LitUp, the area’s first literary event geared for teens. Dan Kelly, kansascity, "LitUp: A book festival for teens created by a teen | The Kansas City Star," 3 May 2018 Justice officials say Sessions's actions reflect an aggressive, by-the-book interpretation of federal law, and his policies are geared toward fighting violent crime and drug trafficking. The Washington Post,, "Jeff Sessions praises Martin Luther King's 'power of truth'," 16 Jan. 2018 There's a whole section at the back of the store exclusively devoted to gear in the shade. Jaimie Potters, Marie Claire, "Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore in Nantucket, Massachusetts," 10 May 2019 Scientists were able to alter GREAT by adding a channel specifically geared towards helium hydride. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Found the Oldest Molecules in the Universe," 18 Apr. 2019 Most athletic brands feel geared towards serious athletes (or at least men and women who want to train like serious athletes) with the technology, graphic stripes, and blackest-black Spandex to prove it. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Hate Athleisure? Eres and Filippa K’s New Collections Will Change Your Mind," 22 Jan. 2019 The show, which was geared to teach adolescents life lessons nd understand the value of morals, was on for three years, before exiting from television in 1995. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Here Are Seven Visual '90s Throwbacks in Bruno Mars & Cardi B's 'Finesse' Remix Video," 4 Jan. 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

5 Jun 2019

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 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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

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