\ ˈsȯrt How to pronounce sort (audio) \

Definition of sort

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a group set up on the basis of any characteristic in common : class, kind
b : one approximating the character or qualities of another a sort of latter-day Abe Lincoln
c : person, individual he's not a bad sort
2 archaic : group, company
3a archaic : method or manner of acting : way, manner
b : character, nature people of an evil sort
4a : a letter or character that is one element of a font
b : a character or piece of type that is not part of a regular font
5 : an instance of sorting a numeric sort of a data file
after a sort
: in a rough or haphazard way plays the piano, after a sort
all sorts of
: many different : all kinds of knows all sorts of people
of sorts or of a sort
: in some respects but not entirely or truly a vacation of sorts
out of sorts
1 : somewhat ill


sorted; sorting; sorts

Definition of sort (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to put in a certain place or rank according to kind, class, or nature sort apples sort mail
b : to arrange according to characteristics : classify usually used with out sort out colors
2 chiefly Scotland : to put to rights : put in order
3a : to examine in order to clarify used with out sorting out his problems
b : to free of confusion : clarify used with out waited until things sorted themselves out

intransitive verb

1 : to join or associate with others especially of the same kind sort with thieves
2 : agree, harmonize his benign view sorts badly with reality— Henry Trewhitt
3 : search sort through some old papers

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Other Words from sort


sortable \ ˈsȯr-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce sortable (audio) \ adjective
sorter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sort


type, kind, sort, nature, description, character mean a number of individuals thought of as a group because of a common quality or qualities. type may suggest strong and clearly marked similarity throughout the items included so that each is typical of the group. one of three basic body types kind may suggest natural grouping. a zoo seemingly having animals of every kind sort often suggests some disparagement. the sort of newspaper dealing in sensational stories nature may imply inherent, essential resemblance rather than obvious or superficial likenesses. two problems of a similar nature description implies a group marked by agreement in all details belonging to a type as described or defined. not all acts of that description are actually illegal character implies a group marked by distinctive likenesses peculiar to the type. research on the subject so far has been of an elementary character

Examples of sort in a Sentence


What sort of car do you drive? He's not a bad sort. She's not the sort to complain. The program did a numeric sort of the data.


She started to sort the mail. They sorted the winners from the losers. The program can sort data alphabetically or numerically.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

My grandfather is dead, and his passing has me out of sorts—another thing that XiuLi has little patience for. Steve Trumpeter,, "2019 Algren Awards: Finalist: A Pamphlet for This," 20 July 2019 After Hall and Rodriguez, the pitching splits itself into a second tier, with Hunter Harvey (No. 8) as the grocery stick of sorts. Jon Meoli,, "Five takeaways from the Baseball America Orioles’ midseason prospect rankings," 19 July 2019 Parker has been dedicated to his faith since experiencing an awakening of sorts while bathing. Rachel Desantis,, "Everything to Know About The Bachelorette Season 15 'Villain' Luke Parker," 18 July 2019 The tale follows Witcher Geralt (Cavill), sorceress Yennefer (Sherwood’s Anya Chalotra) and the mysterious young Ciri (newcomer Freya Allan), who come together to form an unlikely family of sorts. James Hibberd,, "The Witcher showrunner talks new Netflix series: 'It's a very adult show'," 18 July 2019 Christian Flatscher/Snøhetta The installations dot the trail, turning the already picturesque landscape into an art walk of sorts. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Snøhetta’s architectural interventions in the Austrian Alps let the land speak for itself," 17 July 2019 Growing up in Dearborn in the late 1950s, comedian Thom Sharp became a rabid Detroit Tigers fan, partly because of one player who became a Sunday legend of sorts among his fellow baby boomers. Bill Dow, Detroit Free Press, "How Tigers' Charlie Maxwell became 'Sunday Charlie,' one sabbath blast at a time," 14 July 2019 For parts of the contest, Djokovic looked out of sorts, though Federer's attacking onslaught surely contributed. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Djokovic saves match points, beats Federer in historic Wimbledon final," 14 July 2019 So, this year, members of the store's rewards club got entered into a raffle of sorts, and 200,000 people throughout the U.S., U.K. and Canada received a winner ticket. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Remember the crazy lines at Mayfair for Build-a-Bear's Pay your age day last year? This year's promotion was much calmer.," 12 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Local officials have been outbid for land and struggled to sort out old claims to mineral rights on construction sites. Jason Pohl, ProPublica, "Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California," 20 July 2019 Potentially, there would also be tax fraud, commercial fraud, and various state and federal false statements to sort out. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "No One Really Wants to ‘Send Her Back’," 20 July 2019 Hasn’t played since the U.S. Open, which is a bit curious, but perhaps that’s given him a chance to sort out his swing, which eventually hamstrung him Sunday at Pebble Beach. Daniel Rapaport,, "Ranking the Top 100 Players at the 2019 British Open," 16 July 2019 Coaches, players and officials will need time in the preseason to sort out the new rules allowing reviews on pass interference plays. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "50 things to know about NFL teams' training camps in 2019," 15 July 2019 In fact, some of the best DIYs and most creative costumes are made by sorting through your own closet! Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "How to Make a DIY Moana Halloween Costume," 9 July 2019 Officers were able to sort out that two men -- one with an outstanding warrant and the other on probation for assault -- had been in a physical altercation and were separated by others involved., "14-year-old crashes car into convenience store under dad’s watch: Forest Grove police log," 8 July 2019 The claims of rapid growth routinely trotted out by government spokespersons notwithstanding, there are underlying problems to be sorted out to ensure that investment revives. Jayati Ghosh, Quartz India, "Reviving India’s household savings and investments should be the budget’s top concern," 5 July 2019 Right at the start of what will be at least a year-long endeavor, the state agency tasked with implementing a comprehensive new oil and gas law has hit the pause button to sort out conflicting messages from the public. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s writing of new oil, gas rules off to a rocky start," 3 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sort.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sort


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for sort


Middle English, from Anglo-French, fate, lot, characteristic, from Latin sort-, sors lot, share, category — more at series

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Dictionary Entries near sort



sorry about that





Statistics for sort

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sort

The first known use of sort was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sort



English Language Learners Definition of sort

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of people or things that have some shared quality : a particular kind or type of person or thing
: a person of a particular type
technical : the act of separating things and putting them in a particular order : the act of sorting things



English Language Learners Definition of sort (Entry 2 of 2)

: to separate and put (people or things) in a particular order
British, informal : to deal with (something or someone) in a successful way


\ ˈsȯrt How to pronounce sort (audio) \

Kids Definition of sort

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a group of persons or things that have something in common : kind all sorts of people
2 : person sense 1, individual He was not a bad sort.
3 : general disposition : nature people of an evil sort
out of sorts
1 : not feeling well
2 : easily angered : irritable


sorted; sorting

Kids Definition of sort (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to separate and arrange according to kind or class Sort the beads by color.
2 : search entry 1 sense 1 He sorted through a stack of papers.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sort

Spanish Central: Translation of sort

Nglish: Translation of sort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sort

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