\ 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 Among other things, Robbins purchased lumbar supports and fans for spirit squad members and hosted an annual luggage party in which everyone went home with a new piece of travel gear. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2021 Pliskova started the match very nervous and Barty, with the superior experience, never really had to shift out of first gear during the opening exchanges. Ben Church, CNN, 10 July 2021 This Dermaflash is on our list of the best hair removal gear. Medea Giordan, Wired, 4 July 2021 Bullet marks were found on an officer's ballistic SWAT shield in an analysis of the officers' protective gear. Lawrence Andrea, The Indianapolis Star, 2 July 2021 Like new military recruits, they don layers of protective gear, put their bodies at risk and witness a horrifying number of casualties. Washington Post, 2 July 2021 Caught in bidding wars for medical supplies and forced to scour the globe for personal protective equipment when Covid-19 ripped through New York last year, New York hospitals are now sitting on stockpiles of gear. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, 1 July 2021 Much of this high-end gear is used to steer the ship., 24 June 2021 The industry complained of chronic shortages of protective gear, including basics like masks and gowns. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar,, 23 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dick's Sporting Goods stores near Milwaukee were also showing limited stock of Finals gear as of Sunday evening. Isabel Koyama, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 July 2021 Marx recommends treating your clothes and gear with an insecticide that contains at least 0.5 percent permethrin, which is nontoxic to humans. Washington Post, 24 May 2021 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

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

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gear.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on gear

Nglish: Translation of gear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gear for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gear


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