Definition of first gear in English:

first gear


  • 1The lowest in a set of gears on a vehicle, used when traveling very slowly.

    • ‘But attempt a steep hill and you will be forced to drop down through the six-speed manual gearbox to first gear far quicker than you might expect.’
    • ‘If not, go slowly in first gear with the engine revving, as this helps to prevent stalling.’
    • ‘He shifted to the first gear and the jeep rolled off the side and onto the freeway.’
    • ‘However, the transmission has a tendency to kick down into first gear all too easily, which can make progress around town a little jerky.’
    • ‘I would stop the car at the top of the hill, engage first gear, and proceed as slowly as possible down the hill without touching the accelerator.’
    1. 1.1Used in reference to a failure to make progress.
      ‘in a scrappy first half neither team seemed to get out of first gear’
      • ‘In a scrappy first half neither team seemed to get out of first gear.’
      • ‘Hardly representative of his 12 months most of which were spent injured or persevering in first gear.’
      • ‘In their second match, Navy capitalised on Air Force's slow change out of first gear with an early goal.’
      • ‘We didn't really get out of first gear in the second half.’
      • ‘It's up to Smith to shift out of first gear.’
      • ‘My brain barely makes it out of first gear on a Friday.’
      • ‘She says the two did share a bed, but he didn't get out of first gear.’
      • ‘People tell her she could be massive if she would just get herself out of first gear.’
      • ‘Andrews produced a string of superb saves throughout the match as Witton dominated for long periods while Dale struggled to get out of first gear.’
      • ‘But they were worthy of a point on a day when the home side rarely got out of first gear.’
      • ‘Silverbridge played well in the first half but neither side looked to be in first gear.’
      • ‘The tunes wander aimlessly and the album fails to get out of first gear.’
      • ‘Flat, pedestrian writing and excruciatingly slow pacing keep the show stuck in first gear.’
      • ‘And when it comes to looking normal, the Tories are not even in first gear yet.’
      • ‘The ingredients for a decent read are there, but Egleton bogs us down with too much detail so Cry Havoc never gets out of first gear.’
      • ‘The reply never got out of first gear until the score was 110-8.’
      • ‘Celtic were barely out of first gear, but already seemingly accelerating away.’
      • ‘They kind of ease back to first gear and switch off different parts of the brain in sequence.’
      • ‘There is a first gear and a fifth gear and nothing much in between!’
      • ‘"All credit to Bradford for making a game of it, but we never got out of first gear and should have done better."’