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grind (someone's) gears
To greatly or specifically irritate or annoy someone. It really grinds my gears when cyclists go zipping through red lights! John's not a bad guy, but he has a habit of grinding people's gears with his political rants.
in full gear
At the highest or maximum level of function, operation, or performance. The project is in full gear now that we have Sally on board.
move through the gears
To steadily increase one's momentum, as of speed, intensity, progress, or success. The home team has been training for weeks for this showdown, but they've barely had to move through the gears against such a poor performance by their opponents. With a lot of hard work and perseverance, our little business is finally starting to move through the gears!
get (oneself) in gear
To prepare oneself to do something. I know you said you would take out the trash, but get yourself in gear and do it already! I really need to get myself in gear and finish writing this paper—it's due tomorrow!
into high gear
To a faster or more intense pace. All right, let's kick it into high gear for the last part of today's workout! I've always been a good student, but now that I'm trying to get a scholarship for college, my studying has gone into high gear.
gear someone or something up (for someone or something)
to prepare someone or something for someone or something. We have to gear up the workers for the arrival of the new manager. We geared ourselves up for Frank, who was coming to lecture to us.
gear something to someone or something
to cause something to match something else; to create or adapt something for a specific purpose. Tim geared his speech to his audience. The newspaper geared its language to a fourth-grade reading level.
See also: gear
gear up for someone or something
to get ready for something. We are busy gearing up for Joan's visit next week.
get one's ass in gearand get one's tail in gear
Sl. to get moving; to get organized and get started. (Use caution.) Come on, you guys. Get moving. Get your ass in gear!
*in full swingand *in high gear
Fig. at the peak of activity; moving fast or efficiently. (*Typically: be ~; move [into] ~; get [into] ~.) In the summer months, things really get into full swing around here. We go skiing in the mountains each winter. Things are in high gear there in November.
*in high gear
1. [of a machine, such as a car] set in its highest gear, giving the greatest speed. (*Typically: be ~; get [into] ~; move [into] ~.) When my car is in highgear, it goes very fast. You can't start out in high gear. You must work up through the low ones.
2. Go to in full swing.
swing into high gear
to begin operating at a fast pace; to increase the rate of activity. During the winter season we swing into high gear around here. The chef swings into high gear around six o'clock in preparation for the theater crowd.
working well I'd just awakened and I didn't have my brain in gear yet.
Usage notes: often used in the form get something (back) in gear: Leaders from both sides will meet in Washington in an effort to get peace talks back in gear.
Etymology: based on the idea of an engine with gears (machine parts that help an engine move or operate a machine or vehicle)
See also: gear
in high gearalso in full gear
at the highest level of operation Preparations for the convention started weeks ago and are now in high gear.
shift gearsalso switch gears
to suddenly change what you are doing I'd like to shift gears now and talk about a personal concern.
Etymology: based on the idea that a vehicle will change speed when you change gears (machine parts)
in full swing
moving quickly forward In Moscow, a building boom is in full swing.
get your arse in gear(very informal!)
to force yourself to start working or to hurry If she doesn't get her arse in gear she'll be late again.
get your brain in gear(informal)
to make yourself start thinking clearly and effectively I've got to get my brain in gear for the meeting this afternoon.
get in/into gear
to start to work effectively and with energy After a few days out of the office it always takes me a while to get into gear when I come back.
move/step up a gear
to start to work or play more effectively or quickly than before With just five lengths to go, the German swimmer stepped up a gear and edged ahead to win the race.
A state of maximum activity, energy, or force. For example, His mind was in high gear as he studied for the medical exam, or The political campaign is finally moving into high gear. This expression alludes to the high gear of an engine transmission, used at the fastest speeds.
in full swing
Also, in full cry. In full operation, at the highest level of activity. For example, After the strike it would be some time before production was in full swing, or His supporters were out in full cry. The first expression, dating from the mid-1800s, alludes to the vigorous movement of a swinging body. The second employs full cry in the sense of "vigorous pursuit," a usage dating from the late 1500s that may be dying out.
slip a cog
Also, slip a gear or one's gears . Lose one's ability to reason soundly or make correct judgments, as in She must have slipped a cog or she would never have gone out barefoot in December, or What's the matter with him? Has he slipped his gears? These slangy usages allude to a mechanical failure owing to the cog of a gear or a gear failing to mesh. The first dates from about 1930, the variant from the 1960s.
gear towardor gear to
To alter something in order to meet needs, requirements, or expectations of someone or something: We must gear our presentation toward the younger members of the audience. The redesign of the aircraft was geared to making it use fuel more efficiently.
1. To get ready for something, especially an upcoming action or event; prepare for something: The investors geared up for the merger of the two companies.
2. To get something ready for an upcoming action or event: The company is gearing up its marketing team for the release of the new film. We geared the truck up for the journey.
1. mod. excellent. This jazz is really gear!
2. n. an asterisk (*). The gear stands for anything you want it to stand for.
get one’s ass in gearand get one’s tail in gear
exclam. to get moving; to get organized and get started. (Usually objectionable.) Come on, you guys. Get moving. Get your ass in gear! Get moving, guys. Get your tail in gear and keep moving!
get one’s tail in gearverb
tv. to wretch as a prelude to vomiting; to vomit the stomach contents. Beavis is reversing gears and might be going to vomit. You never know with Beavis.
swing into high gear
in. to begin operating at a fast pace; to increase the rate of activity. The chef swings into high gear around eight o’clock in preparation for the theater crowd.
in full swing
At the highest level of activity or operation.