\ 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 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 Wolf sent teams of agents in tactical gear to Portland ahead of the July 4 holiday, and the size and intensity of the protests grew as the protests galvanized around the courthouse and the building became a symbol of Trump himself. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, "Chad Wolf emerges as Trump’s favorite Department of Homeland Security chief," 3 Aug. 2020 Basic safety measures also will be in place: extra cleaning, social distancing, scheduled down-time between classes and private practice sessions, and enforced use of masks and instrumental protective gear such as bell covers. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland-area’s top college-level music schools reboot for fall semester with coronavirus measures," 2 Aug. 2020 Wearing a set of Minnie Mouse ears, McHugh Stamos, 33, strummed on a ukulele while Stamos — also clad in Disney-themed gear — played on his guitar as the two start to sing. Claudia Harmata,, "John Stamos' 2-Year-Old Son Gets Emotional Before Kissing The Beatles Goodnight: 'Ringo!'," 30 July 2020 At the height of the early pandemic in March, the emails offered access to face masks or other personal protective gear. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, "A game of 'cat and mouse': Hacking attacks on hospitals for patient data increase during coronavirus pandemic," 13 July 2020 Coolers: Coleman has iconic coolers and other camping gear while Yeti has hard- and soft-sided coolers and S’well has 15% off insulated travel mugs. oregonlive, "What you’ll need to take a safe, relaxing road trip: Hand sanitizer to coolers," 12 July 2020 Huntsville has assembled a citizens advisory committee to review police activity during protests that occurred on June 1 and 3 that ended with police breaking up crowds with tear gas and other riot gear. al, "Mobile officials begin examining police policies and procedures in aftermath of George Floyd killing," 10 July 2020 When cleaning, wear gloves or other protective gear. Gisela Crespo And Alicia Lee, CNN, "EPA approves two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill novel coronavirus on surfaces," 7 July 2020 Vendors from across North America were setting up 250,000 square feet of canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and other outdoor gear for the three-day trade show scheduled to begin the next day, Friday the 13th, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sales of canoes, kayaks, other outdoor gear are on the mend, triggering shortages in the pandemic," 27 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest—which is certainly the case with this collection of outdoor tricks and gear hacks that readers have sent us over the years. The Editors, Field & Stream, "5 Ingenious Camping Tips," 4 Aug. 2020 Those applications would very likely be denied, given Washington wants to keep Huawei gear out of global 5G networks. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Taiwan could become the next flashpoint in the global tech war," 31 July 2020 The remainder of the football roster will report two weeks after that, in early July, around the same time other fall sports begin to gear back up. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: IU athletics' return will be imperfect, but it's a start on path to normalcy," 3 June 2020 On Friday, Oprah Winfrey will give a commencement speech on Facebook, geared not to a single institution, but to those graduating from many different high schools and colleges across the United States. Ronda Kaysen, New York Times, "No Pomp and Circumstance? No Problem," 15 May 2020 Africa needs solutions geared to the African context. Efosa Ojomo, Quartz Africa, "African countries don’t need donated ventilators without revamping their health systems first," 2 May 2020 The White House and Congressional leaders were nearing a deal to replenish a program geared to keeping small businesses from shuttering and their employees from going on unemployment. Indystar Staff, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana coronavirus updates: What to know Tuesday," 21 Apr. 2020 The total dollar amount geared to the program is $600 billion. NBC News, "Federal Reserve unveils details of $2.3 trillion in programs to help support the economy," 9 Apr. 2020 Programming and lesson plans geared to arts education for K-12 students will be posted on the museum's Facebook page throughout the month. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Motown Museum launches online dance party, other programs as coronavirus shutdown rolls on," 2 Apr. 2020

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

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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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

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