\ 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

Sunset Park is a lovely spot to relax before the tour, ideally with some snacks and a ball of some sort. Max Falkowitz, New York Times, "A Twilight Tour at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Refreshments in Sunset Park to Follow.," 26 June 2019 Related Articles That doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a significant move of some sort made this weekend. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "What can the Wild get with the No. 12 pick? ‘A very good player’," 20 June 2019 All of the big video streaming apps offer a free trial of some sort. Chris Welch, The Verge, "How and when to cancel your Netflix, Prime Video, and other video subscriptions," 11 June 2019 First, most undrafted rookies who sign free-agent contracts do receive a signing bonus of some sort. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions mailbag: How this roster compares to the rest of the NFC North," 6 June 2019 The Harvard Review paper said nearly all Fortune 500 companies use diversity training of some sort. Washington Post, "Sephora closes US stores for diversity training," 5 June 2019 To complete her outfit, Gigi added one last eye-catching piece, a sash/crossbody bag of some sort with two giant pouches. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Gigi Hadid Wore a Skirt-Meets-Pants Look at the CFDA Awards," 4 June 2019 Each lipstick comes in a gold, refillable case that feels like a bar of gold and looks like a fancy weapon or perhaps a talisman of some sort. Sable Yong, Allure, "Bond No. 9's Neutrals Collection Are the Fanciest Nude Lipsticks I’ve Ever Used," 8 May 2019 As the old version of the story went, arachnids and horseshoe crabs descended from a common ancestor, an aquatic chelicerate of some sort, and then split into sister branches. Nadia Drake, National Geographic, "Bizarre horseshoe crabs are actually spider relatives," 27 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

President Xi Jinping even spoke of the importance of sorting garbage in a speech last month. Echo Huang, Quartz, "“What kind of rubbish are you?”: China’s first serious trash-sorting rule is driving Shanghai crazy," 5 July 2019 Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Cop Car shows where Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts learned action and storytelling," 5 July 2019 To conduct the research, neuropathologist Kevin Bieniek, then at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues sorted through nearly 3000 brains donated to the clinic's tissue registry between 2005 and 2016. Sabine Galvis, Science | AAAS, "Even if you don’t play contact sports, you could develop signs of traumatic brain injury," 3 July 2019 However, the concept of sorting through all the city’s garbage to mine out usable material is hardly a proven technique. Dennis Pillion |,, "How does recycling work in your city? A look at the five largest in Alabama," 18 June 2019 Your head may be filled with lots of ideas that need to be gone through and sorted out. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for June 15, 2019: Happy birthday to actress Helen Hunt; Cancer, you can always change your mind," 15 June 2019 How these two bruising teams will sort that out is anyone’s guess, but the Bruins seem to be all done being bullied by the Blues. Stephen Whyno, The Denver Post, "Big, bad Bruins are back, force Stanley Cup Final Game 7 vs. Blues," 9 June 2019 Ayala, a mother of two, has a warm, focused presence among the clatter of sorting machines and air vents. Alex Schechter, Vogue, "Forget Poppies, Ojai’s Pixie Season Is the California Nature Event to Know," 10 Apr. 2019 When the quality of a match between a worker and a task is particularly important, the problem of sorting the signal from the noise in rating systems grows. The Economist, "User-rating systems are cut-rate substitutes for a skilful boss," 28 June 2018

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

8 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

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