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Cog vs. Gear: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 8, 2023
A "Cog" is a tooth on the rim of a gear or wheel, while a "Gear" refers to a toothed machine part, such as a wheel or cylinder, that meshes with another part to transmit motion.

Key Differences

"Cog" and "Gear" are terms often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings in the world of machinery. A "Cog" specifically refers to one of the teeth that are present on gears or wheels. These cogs are designed to mesh with the teeth of adjacent gears to transmit or receive motion. Without these cogs, the smooth transmission of force between gears wouldn't be possible.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
On the other hand, "Gear" is a broader term. It denotes the entire machine component, which can be a wheel or a cylinder, that has cut teeth or cogs. Gears are employed in various machines to transmit motion from one part to another and to provide speed or torque conversions. Essentially, it's the gears that use their cogs to engage with other gears, creating a system that can efficiently transfer motion or change the speed or direction of motion.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
Furthermore, "Cog" is not just limited to machinery. The term can metaphorically be used to describe a small part or person playing a small part in a large organization or system. In contrast, "Gear" can be used more broadly, referring to equipment or apparatus, especially related to a specific task. For instance, fishing gear or camping gear encompasses the tools and equipment necessary for those activities.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
While both "Cog" and "Gear" are integral to mechanisms, understanding the distinction between them is crucial, especially for those in the field of mechanics. Cogs are the teeth making the gear functional, and gears are the components that utilize these cogs to interact with other parts.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Comparison Chart

Basic Definition

A tooth on a gear or wheel.
A machine part with cut teeth that mesh with another part.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
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Scope

Specific; refers only to the teeth.
Broader; refers to the entire machine component.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Metaphorical Use

A small part in a large system.
Equipment related to a specific activity or task.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Key Function

Engages with other cogs to transmit motion.
Uses cogs to transmit motion or change speed/torque.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Associated Phrases

"A cog in the machine."
"Shift gears", "Get one's gears turning."
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Cog and Gear Definitions

Cog

A tooth on a gear or wheel designed for meshing.
The cog on the old clock wheel was worn out, affecting its timing.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023
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Gear

A toothed machine part, like a wheel, that meshes with another to transmit motion.
The gears in the watch worked in harmony.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Cog

An integral part aiding in transmission of motion.
Without that cog, the entire mechanism would fail.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Gear

A particular state or mood, often related to activity.
After a slow morning, he finally got his brain into gear.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Cog

A projection on a gear interacting with counterparts.
The broken cog meant the gears wouldn't mesh properly.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Gear

A toothed machine part, such as a wheel or cylinder, that meshes with another toothed part to transmit motion or to change speed or direction.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

One of a series of teeth, as on the rim of a wheel or gear, whose engagement transmits successive motive force to a corresponding wheel or gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A complete assembly that performs a specific function in a larger machine.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A cogwheel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A transmission configuration for a specific ratio of engine to axle torque in a motor vehicle.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A subordinate member of an organization who performs necessary but usually minor or routine functions.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Equipment, such as tools or clothing, used for a particular activity
Fishing gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

An instance of cheating; a swindle.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Clothing and accessories
The latest gear for teenagers.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A tenon projecting from a wooden beam designed to fit into an opening in another beam to form a joint.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Personal belongings, including clothing
Keeps her gear in a trunk.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To load or manipulate (dice) fraudulently.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

The harness for a horse.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To cheat, especially at dice.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A ship's rigging.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To join with tenons.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A sailor's personal effects.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A tooth on a gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To equip with gears.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A gear; a cogwheel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To connect by gears.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

An unimportant individual in a greater system.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To put into gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

(carpentry) A projection or tenon at the end of a beam designed to fit into a matching opening of another piece of wood to form a joint.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To adjust or adapt so as to make suitable
Geared the speech to a conservative audience.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

(mining) One of the rough pillars of stone or coal left to support the roof of a mine.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To provide with gear; equip.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

(historical) A clinker-built, flat-bottomed, square-rigged mediaeval ship of burden, or war with a round, bulky hull and a single mast, typically 15 to 25 meters in length.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To come into or be in gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

(by extension) A small fishing boat.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To shift a transmission
Geared down to take the curve.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A trick or deception; a falsehood.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To become adjusted so as to fit or blend.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To furnish with a cog or cogs.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

(uncountable) Equipment or paraphernalia, especially that used for an athletic endeavor.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

(intransitive) Of an electric motor or generator, to snap preferentially to certain positions when not energized.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Clothing; garments.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To load (a die) so that it can be used to cheat.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

(obsolete) Goods; property; household items.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To cheat; to play or gamble fraudulently.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

(countable) A wheel with grooves (teeth) engraved on the outer circumference, such that two such devices can interlock and convey motion from one to the other; a gear wheel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To seduce, or draw away, by adulation, artifice, or falsehood; to wheedle; to cozen; to cheat.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A particular combination or choice of interlocking gears, such that a particular gear ratio is achieved.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To plagiarize.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A configuration of the transmission of a motor car so as to achieve a particular ratio of engine to axle torque.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To obtrude or thrust in, by falsehood or deception; to palm off.
To cog in a word
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

(aviation) landing gear
Gear-up landing
Get the gear down quick!
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To seduce, or draw away, by adulation, artifice, or falsehood; to wheedle; to cozen; to cheat.
I'll . . . cog their hearts from them.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Recreational drugs, including steroids.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To obtrude or thrust in, by falsehood or deception; as, to cog in a word; to palm off.
Fustian tragedies . . . have, by concerted applauses, been cogged upon the town for masterpieces.
To cog a die, to load so as to direct its fall; to cheat in playing dice.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Stuff.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To deceive; to cheat; to play false; to lie; to wheedle; to cajole.
For guineas in other men's breeches,Your gamesters will palm and will cog.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

(obsolete) Business matters; affairs; concern.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

To furnish with a cog or cogs.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Anything worthless; nonsense; rubbish.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A trick or deception; a falsehood.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To provide with gearing; to fit with gears in order to achieve a desired gear ratio.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A tooth, cam, or catch for imparting or receiving motion, as on a gear wheel, or a lifter or wiper on a shaft; originally, a separate piece of wood set in a mortise in the face of a wheel.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To be in, or come into, gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A kind of tenon on the end of a joist, received into a notch in a bearing timber, and resting flush with its upper surface.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To dress; to put gear on; to harness.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

One of the rough pillars of stone or coal left to support the roof of a mine.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

(usually with to or toward(s)) To design or devise (something) so as to be suitable (for a particular type of person or a particular purpose).
This shop is not really geared towards people of our age.
They have geared the hotel mainly at tourists.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A small fishing boat.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

(finance) To borrow money in order to invest it in assets.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

Tooth on the rim of gear wheel
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Great or fantastic
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

Roll steel ingots
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Clothing; garments; ornaments.
Array thyself in thy most gorgeous gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

Join pieces of wood with cogs
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Goods; property; household stuff.
Homely gear and common ware.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A person playing a small part in a bigger organization.
She felt like a mere cog in the vast corporate machinery.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Gear

Whatever is prepared for use or wear; manufactured stuff or material.
Clad in a vesture of unknown gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Cog

A minor, yet essential, part of a larger system.
As a cog in the production line, his role was critical.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Gear

The harness of horses or cattle; trapping.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Warlike accouterments.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Manner; custom; behavior.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Business matters; affairs; concern.
Thus go they both together to their gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A toothed wheel, or cogwheel; as, a spur gear, or a bevel gear; also, toothed wheels, collectively.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

See 1st Jeer (b).
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Anything worthless; stuff; nonsense; rubbish.
That servant of his that confessed and uttered this gear was an honest man.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To dress; to put gear on; to harness.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To provide with gearing.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To adapt toward some specific purpose; as, they geared their advertising for maximum effect among teenagers.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

To be in, or come into, gear.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A toothed wheel that engages another toothed mechanism in order to change the speed or direction of transmitted motion
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

A mechanism for transmitting motion by gears for some specific purpose (as the steering gear of a vehicle)
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Equipment consisting of miscellaneous articles needed for a particular operation or sport etc.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Set the level or character of;
She pitched her speech to the teenagers in the audience
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 19, 2023

Gear

Equipment used for a specific purpose or activity.
He packed all his camping gear for the weekend trip.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Gear

A specific setting in a vehicle's transmission.
She shifted the car into first gear.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Gear

Apparatus or equipment in general.
The soldier's gear was laid out neatly on the table.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

FAQs

Do all gears have cogs?

Yes, gears typically have cogs or teeth that allow them to mesh with other gears.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Which wears out faster, the cog or the gear?

The cogs, being the point of contact, tend to wear out faster than the entire gear.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Can a gear function without its cogs?

No, cogs are essential for a gear's primary function of transmitting motion.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can "gear" refer to clothing?

Yes, "gear" can sometimes refer to specific attire, like sports gear or protective gear.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Can "gear" refer to equipment?

Yes, "gear" can refer to equipment or tools used for specific activities.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Is "cog" used metaphorically?

Yes, it can denote a small, often overlooked part of a larger system.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

What's the significance of gear ratios?

Gear ratios determine the speed and torque output of machinery.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Are cogs always visible on gears?

Not always. Some gears, like internal or planetary gears, might have cogs that aren't immediately visible.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Is a "cog" a standalone machine part?

No, a cog is a part of a gear, specifically one of its teeth.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

How do gears affect speed and torque?

Gears can increase speed with reduced torque or increase torque with reduced speed based on their ratio.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Can "gear" mean a state of readiness?

Yes, phrases like "get into gear" imply getting ready or starting action.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

How are gear and cog related in a bicycle?

On a bicycle, the chainring and rear sprockets are often called gears, and their teeth can be thought of as cogs.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Is a sprocket the same as a cog?

Not exactly. While both have teeth, sprockets mesh with chains, while cogs are part of gears meshing with other gears.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Why are cogs essential in gear systems?

Cogs allow gears to mesh and transfer motion efficiently.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

How does a missing cog affect machinery?

A missing cog can disrupt the motion transmission, causing the machinery to malfunction or stop.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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