gear·​shift | \ˈgir-ˌshift \
variants: or gear shift
plural gearshifts or gear shifts

Definition of gearshift 

1 : a mechanism by which the transmission gears in a power-transmission system are engaged and disengaged also : a lever for controlling such a mechanism

2 : the functioning of a gearshift mechanism : the act or an instance of shifting gears A new, eight-speed automatic transmission makes gear shifts based in part on g-forces that the car encounters during spirited driving.— Ann M. Job

Examples of gearshift in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Cole pointed to the tractor's other components, including its cultivator handles, clutch, gearshift and hydraulics. Mitchell Kirk, Post-Tribune, "Cass County man collects tractors from around the world," 6 July 2018 On the interior, the RS 5 Sportback has Audi’s typical wraparound dashboard and S sport seats, but with RS embossing and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, sport gearshift, and steel pedals. Hannah Elliott,, "Audi Adds to ‘Coupe’ Confusion With 2019 RS 5 Sportback," 27 Mar. 2018 Having a conventional transmission gives the Ioniq a more-conventional and sportier driving experience, particularly when the gearshift lever is pushed to the left to engage the Sport mode. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Hyundai’s 2018 Ioniq Hybrid has starting price of $22,200," 1 July 2018 Without the need for a gearshift lever or a clutch, the Kalk has hand controls only, with the rear brake on the left and the twist throttle and front brake on the right. Ty Brookhart, Outside Online, "You're Going to Want the Cake Kalk E-Dirt Bike," 25 June 2018 At the center of business is the padded aircraft-style gearshift lever, flanked by two smaller levers. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Lamborghini Urus: An SUV for the One Percent," 15 June 2018 Having a conventional transmission gives the Ioniq a more-conventional and sportier driving experience than the Prius, particularly when the gearshift lever is pushed to the left to engage the Sport mode. G. Chambers Williams Iii, star-telegram, "Hyundai’s 2018 Ioniq Hybrid gives consumers a sporty Prius alternative | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 26 May 2018 Not long after Jan drove away from her family, her car’s gearshift cracked off. Gina Barton,, "CHAPTER 4: MISSING MOM," 20 Sep. 2017 The gearshift itself is a large knob for big Jeep-owner man-paws to handle. Scott Sturgis,, "Jeep Cherokee offers rugged, old style in a small SUV," 15 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gearshift.' 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 gearshift

1899, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gearshift

Dictionary Entries near gearshift

gear ratio


gear shaper


gear up



Statistics for gearshift

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gearshift

The first known use of gearshift was in 1899

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gearshift



English Language Learners Definition of gearshift

: a lever or other device that is moved to change gears in a car, on a bicycle, etc.


gear·​shift | \ˈgir-ˌshift \

Kids Definition of gearshift

: a mechanism by which gears are connected and disconnected

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on gearshift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gearshift

Spanish Central: Translation of gearshift

Nglish: Translation of gearshift for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gearshift for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gearshift

What made you want to look up gearshift? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
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!