a. A toothed machine part, such as a wheel or cylinder, that meshes with another toothed part to transmit motion or to change speed or direction.
b. A complete assembly that performs a specific function in a larger machine.
c. A transmission configuration for a specific ratio of engine to axle torque in a motor vehicle.
2. Equipment, such as tools or clothing, used for a particular activity: fishing gear. See Synonyms at equipment.
a. Clothing and accessories: the latest gear for teenagers.
b. Personal belongings, including clothing: keeps her gear in a trunk.
4. The harness for a horse.
a. A ship's rigging.
b. A sailor's personal effects.
v. geared, gear·ing, gears
a. To equip with gears.
b. To connect by gears.
c. To put into gear.
2. To adjust or adapt so as to make suitable: geared the speech to a conservative audience.
3. To provide with gear; equip.
1. To come into or be in gear.
2. To shift a transmission: geared down to take the curve.
3. To become adjusted so as to fit or blend.
To get ready or cause to get ready for a coming action or event: a group of investors who had geared up for the takeover fight; geared themselves up for an argument.
[Middle English gere, equipment, from Old Norse gervi; akin to gera, to do, make, make ready.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.