noun Machinery.

an assembly of parts, especially a train of gears, for transmitting and modifying motion and torque in a machine.
the act or process of equipping with gears.
the method of installation of such gears.

Origin of gearing

First recorded in 1815–25; gear + -ing1




  1. a part, as a disk, wheel, or section of a shaft, having cut teeth of such form, size, and spacing that they mesh with teeth in another part to transmit or receive force and motion.
  2. an assembly of such parts.
  3. one of several possible arrangements of such parts in a mechanism, as an automobile transmission, for affording different relations of torque and speed between the driving and the driven machinery, or for permitting the driven machinery to run in either direction: first gear; reverse gear.
  4. a mechanism or group of parts performing one function or serving one purpose in a complex machine: steering gear.
implements, tools, or apparatus, especially as used for a particular occupation or activity; paraphernalia: fishing gear.
a harness, especially of horses.
  1. the lines, tackles, etc., of a particular sail or spar.
  2. the personal tools, clothing, and other possessions of a sailor.
portable items of personal property, including clothing; possessions: The campers keep all their gear in footlockers.
wearing apparel; clothing: The fashion pages of the Sunday paper are featuring the latest fall gear.
armor or arms.

verb (used with object)

to provide with or connect by gearing.
to put in or into gear.
to provide with gear; supply; equip.
to prepare, adjust, or adapt to a particular situation, person, etc., in order to bring about satisfactory results: The producers geared their output to seasonal demands.

verb (used without object)

to fit exactly, as one part of gearing into another; come into or be in gear.


Slang. great; wonderful.

Verb Phrases

gear down,
  1. shift the transmission of a vehicle to a lower gear: The truck driver geared down at the top of the hill.
  2. to reduce in scope or intensity: With less income you'll have to gear down your spending habits.
gear up,
  1. to make or get ready for a future event or situation: Insiders say the senator is gearing up to run for governor.
  2. to get or put on equipment or clothing for a particular purpose: The hikers geared up for the long trek down the mountain.
  3. to arouse or excite, as with enthusiasm or expectation: The employees were geared up for a hard battle with management over working hours.

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

Synonyms for gear Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gearing

Contemporary Examples of gearing

Historical Examples of gearing

British Dictionary definitions for gearing



an assembly of gears designed to transmit motion
the act or technique of providing gears to transmit motion
Also called: capital gearing accounting, British the ratio of a company's debt capital to its equity capitalUS word: leverage



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 gearing



c.1200, "fighting equipment," probably from Old Norse gervi "apparel," related to gerr "ready," and gerva "make ready," from Proto-Germanic *garwin- (cf. Old English gearwe "clothing, equipment, ornament;" Old High German garawi "clothing, dress," garawen "to make ready;" German gerben "to tan"). Meaning "toothed wheel in machinery" first attested 1520s. Slang for "male sex organs" from 1670s. British adjective slang sense of "stylish, excellent" first recorded 1951, from earlier that's the gear, expression of approval, 1925.



c.1200, "to equip oneself for fighting; dress," probably from gear (n.). Related: Geared; gearing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gearing in Science



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 gearing


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.