The noun gear refers to several things. First, it’s the equipment we need for a sport or event. A gear is also a wheel with teeth that interlocks with another gear to transmit motion in a machine.

The background of gear as "equipment" dates back to around 1200 and comes from the Old Norse gervi, "apparel." The word gear in machinery became common in the early 19th century, although there is evidence that the word came to mean "toothed wheel" as early as 1520. Gear entered English slang around 1951, meaning something stylish. This use was popularized in the 1960s, under the influence of British pop music.

Primary Meanings of gear

a toothed wheel that engages another toothed mechanism in order to change the speed or direction of transmitted motion
set the level or character of
equipment consisting of miscellaneous articles needed for a particular operation or sport etc.
Full Definitions of gear

n a toothed wheel that engages another toothed mechanism in order to change the speed or direction of transmitted motion

cogwheel, gear wheel, geared wheel
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bevel gear, pinion and crown wheel, pinion and ring gear
gears that mesh at an angle
escape wheel
gear that engages a rocking lever
a gear with a small number of teeth designed to mesh with a larger wheel or rack
epicyclic gear, planet gear, planet wheel, planetary gear
an outer gear that revolves about a central sun gear of an epicyclic train
rack and pinion
a wheel gear (the pinion) meshes with a toothed rack; converts rotary to reciprocating motion (and vice versa)
spur gear, spur wheel
gear wheels that mesh in the same plane
sun gear
the central gear in an epicyclic train
worm gear
gear consisting of a shaft with screw thread (the worm) that meshes with a toothed wheel (the worm wheel); changes the direction of the axis of rotary motion
worm wheel
gear with the thread of a worm
differential, differential gear
a bevel gear that permits rotation of two shafts at different speeds; used on the rear axle of automobiles to allow wheels to rotate at different speeds on curves
lantern pinion, lantern wheel
a small pinion having cylindrical bars instead of teeth, used chiefly in inexpensive clocks
Type of:
a simple machine consisting of a circular frame with spokes (or a solid disc) that can rotate on a shaft or axle (as in vehicles or other machines)

n a mechanism for transmitting motion for some specific purpose (as the steering gear of a vehicle)

gear mechanism
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first, first gear, low, low gear
the lowest forward gear ratio in the gear box of a motor vehicle; used to start a car moving
a set of gears
high, high gear
a forward gear with a gear ratio that gives the greatest vehicle velocity for a given engine speed
a gear position that acts as a parking brake
reverse, reverse gear
the gears by which the motion of a machine can be reversed
second, second gear
the gear that has the second lowest forward gear ratio in the gear box of a motor vehicle
steering gear
a gear that couples the steering wheel to the steering linkage of a motor vehicle
third, third gear
the third from the lowest forward ratio gear in the gear box of a motor vehicle
transmission, transmission system
the gears that transmit power from an automobile engine via the driveshaft to the live axle
automatic drive, automatic transmission
a transmission that automatically changes the gears according to the speed of the car
4WD, four-wheel drive
a transmission that provides power directly to all four wheels of a motor vehicle
hydraulic transmission, hydraulic transmission system
a transmission that depends on a hydraulic system
a high gear used at high speeds to maintain the driving speed with less output power
standard transmission, stick shift
a transmission that is operated manually with a gear lever and a clutch pedal
Type of:
device consisting of a piece of machinery; has moving parts that perform some function

n wheelwork consisting of a connected set of rotating gears by which force is transmitted or motion or torque is changed

gearing, geartrain, power train, train
epicyclic gear train, epicyclic train
a system of epicyclic gears in which at least one wheel axis itself revolves about another fixed axis
reduction gear
gearing that reduces an input speed to a slower output speed
Type of:
mechanical device including an arrangement of wheel in a machine (especially a train of gears)

v set the level or character of

popularise, popularize
make understandable to the general public
Type of:
accommodate, adapt
make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose

n equipment consisting of miscellaneous articles needed for a particular operation or sport etc.

appurtenance, paraphernalia
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fishing gear, fishing rig, fishing tackle, rig, tackle
gear used in fishing
kit, outfit
gear consisting of a set of articles or tools for a specified purpose
paraphernalia indicative of royalty (or other high office)
gear (including necessary machinery) for a particular enterprise
rigging, tackle
gear consisting of ropes etc. supporting a ship's masts and sails
saddlery, stable gear, tack
gear for a horse
piece of metal held in horse's mouth by reins and used to control the horse while riding
caparison, housing, trapping
stable gear consisting of a decorated covering for a horse, especially (formerly) for a warhorse
carpenter's kit, tool kit
a set of carpenter's tools
cinch, girth
stable gear consisting of a band around a horse's belly that holds the saddle in place
crown jewels
regalia (jewelry and other paraphernalia) worn by a sovereign on state occasions
drill rig, drilling rig, oil rig, oilrig
rig used in drilling for oil or gas
first-aid kit
kit consisting of a set of bandages and medicines for giving first aid
stable gear consisting of either of two curved supports that are attached to the collar of a draft horse and that hold the traces
stable gear consisting of an arrangement of leather straps fitted to a draft animal so that it can be attached to and pull a cart
stable gear consisting of any part of a harness that fits about the horse's head
kit consisting of a complete outfit (clothing and accessories) for a new baby
a harness strap that connects the nose piece to the girth; prevents the horse from throwing back its head
mess kit
kit containing a metal dish and eating utensils; used by soldiers and campers
horse blanket, saddle blanket, saddlecloth
stable gear consisting of a blanket placed under the saddle
sewing kit
a kit of articles used in sewing
stable gear that joins two draft animals at the neck so they can work together as a team
Type of:
an instrumentality needed for an undertaking or to perform a service

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