Nearby words

  1. ge'ez,
  2. ge-,
  3. ge-pano-carib,
  4. gean,
  5. geanticline,
  6. gear cluster,
  7. gear down,
  8. gear knob,
  9. gear lever,
  10. gear pump


Origin of gear

1150–1200; Middle English gere < Old Norse gervi, gørvi; akin to Old English gearwe equipment

Related formsgear·less, adjectivere·gear, verbun·geared, adjectivewell-geared, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gear

British Dictionary definitions for gear



a toothed wheel that engages with another toothed wheel or with a rack in order to change the speed or direction of transmitted motion
a mechanism for transmitting motion by gears, esp for a specific purposethe steering gear of a boat
the engagement or specific ratio of a system of gearsin gear; high gear
personal equipment and accoutrements; belongings
equipment and supplies for a particular operation, sport, etcfishing gear
nautical all equipment or appurtenances belonging to a certain vessel, sailor, etc
short for landing gear
informal up-to-date clothes and accessories, esp those bought by young people
  1. stolen goods
  2. illegal drugs
a less common word for harness (def. 1)
in gear working or performing effectively or properly
out of gear out of order; not functioning properly


(tr) to adjust or adapt (one thing) so as to fit in or work with anotherto gear our output to current demand
(tr) to equip with or connect by gears
(intr) to be in or come into gear
(tr) to equip with harness
Derived Formsgearless, adjective

Word Origin for gear

C13: from Old Norse gervi; related to Old High German garawī equipment, Old English gearwe

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for gear
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for gear



A wheel with teeth around its rim that mesh with the teeth of another wheel to transmit motion. Gears are used to transmit power (as in a car transmission) or change the direction of motion in a mechanism (as in a differential axle). Fixed ratios of speed in various parts of a machine is often established by the arrangement of gears.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with gear


see high gear; slip a cog (gear).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.