gear - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the part of an engine that changes engine power into movement. Most cars in the UK have 5 or 6 gears that you operate yourself
    change gear:

    Helen changed gear as she approached the junction.

    first/second etc gear:

    At forty miles an hour you should be in fourth gear.

    low/high gear:

    Always use a low gear when driving down a steep hill.

    grind/crash the gears (=make a noise when changing gear because you do not do it correctly):

    You’ll ruin the gearbox if you keep grinding the gears like that.

    in gear (=with one of the gears connected so that the power of the engine will make the wheels move):

    The car won’t move unless you’re in gear.

    out of gear (=with no gears connected):

    Take the car out of gear.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] the special clothes and equipment that you use for a particular activity

    Don’t forget to bring walking gear.

    We took down the tent and packed all the gear away.

  3. 3
    [uncountable] a machine or part of a machine that does a particular job
  4. 4
    [uncountable] informal old-fashioned clothes, especially fashionable ones. This word is often used humorously.
See also