- 1 [countable, usually plural] machinery in a vehicle that turns engine power (or power on a bicycle) into movement forwards or backwards Careless use of the clutch may damage the gears. The car pulled up with a screech of brakes and a grinding of gears. See related entries: Cycling, Parts of a car
- 2 [uncountable, countable] a particular position of the gears in a vehicle that gives a particular range of speed and power first/second, etc. gear reverse gear low/high gear (British English) bottom/top gear (British English) to change gear (North American English) to shift gear When parking on a hill, leave the car in gear. What gear are you in? He drove wildly, crashing through the gears like a maniac. CollocationsDrivingHaving a car have/own/(British English) run a car ride a motorcycle/motorbike drive/prefer/use an automatic/a manual/(North American English, informal) a stick shift have/get your car serviced/fixed/repaired buy/sell a used car/(especially British English) a second-hand car take/pass/fail a (British English) driving test/(both North American English) driver’s test/road test get/obtain/have/lose/carry a/your (British English) driving licence/(North American English) driver’s licenseDriving put on/fasten/(North American English) buckle/wear/undo your seat belt/safety belt put/turn/leave the key in the ignition start the car/engine (British English) change/(North American English) shift/put something into gear press/put your foot on the brake pedal/clutch/accelerator release the clutch/(especially British English) the handbrake/(both North American English) the emergency brake/the parking brake drive/park/reverse the car (British English) indicate left/right (especially North American English) signal that you are turning left/right take/miss (British English) the turning/(especially North American English) the turn apply/hit/slam on the brake(s) beep/honk/(especially British English) toot/(British English) sound your hornProblems and accidents a car skids/crashes (into something)/collides (with something) swerve to avoid an oncoming car/a pedestrian crash/lose control of the car have/be in/be killed in/survive a car crash/a car accident/(North American English) a car wreck/a hit-and-run be run over/knocked down by a car/bus/truck dent/hit (British English) the bonnet/(North American English) the hood break/crack/shatter (British English) the windscreen/(North American English) the windshield blow/(especially British English) burst/puncture (British English) a tyre/(North American English) a tire get/have (British English) a flat tyre/a flat tire/a puncture inflate/change/fit/replace/check a tyre/tire Traffic and driving regulations be caught in/get stuck in/sit in a traffic jam cause congestion/tailbacks/traffic jams/gridlock experience/face lengthy delays beat/avoid the traffic/the rush hour break/observe/(North American English) drive the speed limit be caught on (British English) a speed camera stop somebody for/pull somebody over for/(British English, informal) be done for speeding (both informal) run/(British English) jump a red light/the lights be arrested for/charged with (British English) drink-driving/(both US English) driving under the influence (DUI)/driving while intoxicated (DWI) be banned/(British English) disqualified from driving equipment/clothes
- 3 [uncountable] the equipment or clothing needed for a particular activity climbing/fishing/sports, etc. gear see also headgear, riot gear Synonymsequipmentmaterial gear kit apparatusThese are all words for the things that you need for a particular purpose or activity.equipment the things that are needed for a particular purpose or activity:camping equipment a piece of equipment material things that are needed for a particular activity:household cleaning materials teaching materialequipment or material?Equipment is usually solid things, especially large ones. Materials may be liquids, powders or books, CDs, etc. containing information, as well as small solid items.gear the equipment or clothes needed for a particular activity:Skiing gear can be expensive.kit a set of tools or equipment that you use for a particular purpose:a first-aid kit a tool kitapparatus the tools or other pieces of equipment that are needed for a particular activity or task:breathing apparatus for firefighters laboratory apparatus Apparatus is used especially for scientific, medical or technical purposes.Patterns electrical/electronic equipment/gear/apparatus sports equipment/gear/kit camping equipment/gear a piece of equipment/apparatus
- 4[uncountable] (informal) clothes wearing the latest gear Synonymsclothesclothing garment dress wear gearThese are all words for the things that you wear, such as shirts, jackets, dresses and trousers/pants.clothes [pl.] the things that you wear, such as shirts, jackets, dresses and trousers/pants.clothing [U] (rather formal) clothes, especially a particular type of clothes:warm clothingclothes or clothing?Clothing is more formal than clothes and is used especially to mean ‘a particular type of clothes’. There is no singular form of clothes or clothing: a piece/an item/an article of clothing is used to talk about one thing that you wear such as a dress or shirt.garment (formal) a piece of clothing:He was wearing a strange shapeless garment. Garment should only be used in formal or literary contexts; in everyday contexts use a piece of clothing.dress [U] clothes, especially when worn in a particular style or for a particular occasion:We were allowed to wear casual dress on Fridays.wear [U] (usually in compounds) clothes for a particular purpose or occasion, especially when it is being sold in shops/stores:the children’s wear departmentgear [U] (informal) clothes:Her friends were all wearing the latest gear (= fashionable clothes).Patterns casual clothes/clothing/dress/wear/gear evening/formal clothes/dress/wear designer/sports clothes/clothing/garments/wear/gear children’s/men’s/women’s clothes/clothing/garments/wear to have on/be in/wear …clothes/garments/dress/gear possessions
- 5[uncountable] (informal) the things that a person owns I've left all my gear at Dave's house. machinery
- 6[uncountable] (often in compounds) a piece of machinery used for a particular purpose lifting/towing/winding, etc. gear see also landing gear speed/effort
- 7[uncountable, countable] used to talk about the speed or effort involved in doing something (British English) The party organization is moving into top gear as the election approaches. (North American English) to move into high gear Coming out of the final bend, the runner stepped up a gear to overtake the rest of the pack. drugs
- 8[uncountable] (slang) illegal drugs Word Origin Middle English: of Scandinavian origin; compare with Old Norse gervi. Early senses expressed the general meaning ‘equipment or apparatus’, later ‘mechanism’: hence sense (1) (early 19th cent.).Extra examples Engage first gear and move off. He found it hard to switch gears when he retired. He was crashing the gears because he was so nervous. I was driving along in third gear. It’s difficult to steer and change gear at the same time. Leave the car out of gear. She had her running gear on. She made a smooth gear change. She put the car into first gear and drove off. She was the only one wearing expensive designer gear. Some drivers leave the car in gear when parking on hills. The hot weather makes it hard for soldiers in protective gear. The party organization is moving into top gear as the election approaches. a group of men in combat gear firemen in breathing gear the plane’s landing gear Don’t forget to bring your walking gear. Her friends were all wearing the latest gear. Skiing gear can be expensive. The cooking gear is still in the back of the car. The shop sells various types of outdoor gear.Idioms (slang, especially North American English) a rude way of telling somebody to hurry If you get your ass in gear, we can make it out of here tonight. to start working, or to start something working, in an efficient way (of emotions or situations) (to become) out of control She said nothing in case her temper slipped out of gear.