\ 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 outsort out colors
2 chiefly Scotland : to put to rights : put in order
3a : to examine in order to clarify used with outsorting out his problems
b : to free of confusion : clarify used with outwaited 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

Noun 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. Verb 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 After all, there’s a certain logic of sorts to his approach. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Donald Trump’s Never-Ending War on Numbers," 20 May 2020 The people of Arizona can count on them when there is worthy work of any sort to be done. John D'anna, azcentral, "The Arizona Republic at 130 years old: 'First, last and all the time a newspaper'," 19 May 2020 The Honduran woman lived with his family for a while and has become a counselor of sorts to other migrants, Garland said. Elaine Ayala,, "Ayala: Desperate asylum seekers still find a way to get to Southtown preacher," 16 May 2020 In Germany, there’s more focus on the virus’s basic reproduction number, or R0, thought to be a leading indicator of sorts. Suzi Ring,, "Why Daily Virus Numbers Mean Little in Post-Lockdown Stakes," 15 May 2020 The nuts, which are not actually nuts but a type of tuber, are soaked overnight and blended with water and sugar into a creamy smoothie of sorts. Alex Erdekian, Condé Nast Traveler, "7 Spanish Drinks You Can Make at Home," 14 May 2020 People staying home to avoid catching or spreading the deadly COVID-19 virus have been relying on small-screen content as a comfort zone of sorts — for entertainment, distraction and, yes, a little human connection., "TV during the COVID-19 crisis: What are we watching?," 8 May 2020 Ellie does undergo a makeover of sorts, but not in the form of taking off her glasses and letting down her ponytail before the big dance. Alyse Whitney, Glamour, "I Wish The Half of It, Netflix’s Latest Teen Rom-Com, Had Existed When I Was 16," 1 May 2020 Then there’s the logistical and financial burden of carrying out mass testing—of any sort—in workplaces, retail outlets, schools, and the rest of a the community. Claire Gillespie,, "Are Coronavirus Temperature Checks Really Effective? Here's What Experts Say," 29 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ticket sales were suspended, then relocated, and law enforcement was brought in to sort out the mess. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Next Ten: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook wins double overtime thriller in 1974 Finals," 23 May 2020 While restaurants around town do their best to sort out the safety analytics, many still offer those family dinners. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Kitchen magician: Instantly make dinner appear with family-style take-out," 19 May 2020 LaNiece Sirois from the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce encouraged customers to be patient as retailers sort out safety restrictions. USA TODAY, "Masks for ‘respect,’ protests of conditions, back in casinos: News from around our 50 states," 13 May 2020 And don't go to China until the Chinese government sorts out this epidemic. Mark Dunphy,, "Coronavirus in quotes: What San Antonio leaders have said since the onset of the crisis," 27 Mar. 2020 There’s just so much to pay attention to, to sort out, to try to understand. Sally Tamarkin, SELF, "Here’s How to Get Your Loved Ones to Take Social Distancing Seriously," 16 Mar. 2020 To sort out the possibilities, ESA and Roscosmos officials scheduled a meeting for today to determine the final timeline. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Coronavirus restrictions the final straw for ESA’s Mars Mission," 12 Mar. 2020 Meghan returned to Canada last week while Prince Harry stayed in the U.K. to sort out details of their new arrangement with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, father Prince Charles and brother Prince William. Gabrielle Chung,, "Meghan Markle Speaks with Women's Rights Group as She Embarks on Her New Life in Canada," 16 Jan. 2020 After releasing their big news, the Duchess flew back to Canada while Prince Harry stayed in the U.K. to sort out details of their new arrangement with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, father Prince Charles and brother Prince William. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Meghan Markle's First Public Appearance After Royal Separation Is To A Vancouver Women's Center," 15 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sort

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sort

Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for sort


How to pronounce sort (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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