Word of the Day: gear

Word of the Day
May 19, 2016
gear (noun, verb)
/gɪr/   sound icon
A gear is a wheel or disk with teeth that fit exactly into the teeth of another wheel, in order to modify the speed or direction of a mechanism, such as those found in engines and clocks. It is also the thing that is assembled with all those parts, such as the gears of a car. In addition, gear is any apparatus or material used for a purpose, and informally, it can mean either 'belongings' or 'clothes.' As a verb, gear means 'to provide with gears' and, informally, 'to adjust something to a situation in order to get a good result.'


Example sentences
The clockmaker adjusted the gears to make sure the clock would always show the right time.
Jane put the car into reverse gear.
Robert took all his climbing gear with him for his weekend in the mountains.
Before Nancy got on the train, she checked that she had all her gear with her.
I'm going shopping for some new gear; all my old hiking clothes are too big for me since I lost weight.
The engineer did a good job of gearing the system.
The manufacturer is gearing his products to emerging markets.


Words often used with gear
in gear: with the gears properly connected. Example: "You need to put the car in gear, before you can drive anywhere." In gear is also used figuratively to say that something is working properly. Example: "Sorry, I didn't understand what you meant; my brain isn't in gear today!"
out of gear: with the gears not connected. Example: "Germaine pressed down on the accelerator, but the car was out of gear, so it didn't move."
Multi-word forms
gear up: get ready for something. Example: "Everyone's getting geared up to go to Pietro's wedding at the end of the month."
shift or switch gears: to change the way you are doing or thinking about something. Example: "This project doesn't seem to be working; I think we need to shift gears."
Did you know?
As a slang term, gear can also mean illegal drugs. Example: "Bill went to see his dealer to buy some gear."
Gear dates back to the second half of the 12th century and comes from the Old Norse word gervi or gørvi, akin to the Old English word gearwe, meaning 'equipment,' and the Middle English word gere.
Gear in other languages
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