Meaning of GEAR in English

I. gear 1 S3 /ɡɪə $ ɡɪr/ BrE AmE noun

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: gearwe ]

1 . IN CARS ETC [uncountable and countable] the machinery in a vehicle such as a car, truck, or bicycle that you use to go comfortably at different speeds:

His mountain bike had 18 gears.

Andy drove cautiously along in third gear.

Does this thing have a reverse gear?

Any cyclist can climb a difficult hill; you just change gear.

Don’t turn off the engine while you’re still in gear.

It’s a good habit to take the car out of gear while you’re at a stoplight.

2 . [uncountable and countable] used to talk about the amount of effort and energy that someone is using in a situation:

During this period, Japan’s export industries were in top gear (=were as active as they could be) .

The Republican’s propaganda machine moved into high gear.

step up a gear British English (=increase the level of effort)

United stepped up a gear in the second half.

3 . change gear British English , change/switch/shift gears American English to start doing something in a different way, especially using more or less energy or effort:

The boss expects us to be able to change gear just like that.

4 . EQUIPMENT [uncountable] a set of equipment or tools you need for a particular activity:

He’s crazy about photography – he’s got all the gear.

We’ll need some camping gear.

5 . CLOTHES [uncountable] a set of clothes that you wear for a particular occasion or activity:

Bring your rain gear.

police in riot gear

6 . MACHINERY [uncountable] a piece of machinery that performs a particular job:

the landing gear of a plane

heavy lifting gear

7 . DRUGS [uncountable] British English informal a word meaning illegal drugs, used by people who take drugs

8 . get your ass in gear American English informal used to tell someone to hurry SYN move your ass :

You’d better get your ass in gear – you’re late.

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ first/second/third etc gear

The heavy traffic meant that we seldom got out of second gear.

▪ a low gear (=first or second gear)

You should use a low gear when going up a hill.

▪ a high gear (=third, fourth, or fifth gear)

Put the car into a higher gear.

▪ top gear British English (=the highest gear)

Hamilton slipped effortlessly into top gear.

▪ bottom gear British English (=the lowest gear)

The car trundled slowly forward in bottom gear.

▪ reverse gear (=for driving backwards)

He put the truck into reverse gear.

■ verbs

▪ change gear ( also switch/shift gears American English )

It takes some time to learn when to change gear.

▪ put the car etc into (first/second/third etc) gear

He put the car into gear, and they moved slowly forwards.

▪ engage first/second etc gear (=put the car into gear)

Nick struggled to engage first gear.

▪ be in the wrong gear

The straining noises from the engine told him that he was in the wrong gear.

▪ crunch/grind the gears (=change gear in a way that makes an unpleasant noise)

He crunched the gears into reverse.

II. gear 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

be geared to somebody/something to be organized in a way that is suitable for a particular purpose or situation:

The typical career pattern was geared to men whose wives didn’t work.

be geared to do something

The course curriculum is geared to span three years.

gear up phrasal verb

to prepare for something

gear up for

The organization is gearing up for a convention in May.

gear up/be geared up to do something

Fast food restaurants are geared up to serve thousands of people daily.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.