\ 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 sort (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 Most of the story hinges on seemingly pedestrian questions that contain tense, smoldering pleas for closure – the sort that wouldn’t be out of place in a period drama. Rebekah Denn, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 July 2021 To work in space, instruments to filter and sort cells would need both refinement on Earth and miniaturization for spaceflight. Natalie Elliot, Scientific American, 16 July 2021 To meet the demand, Evans is seeking forklift operators and warehousing workers to package goods and sort materials. Sarah Chaney Cambon, WSJ, 15 July 2021 The singularity of his celebrity and the suddenness of his death have fuelled an uncommonly intense, uncommonly enduring grief—a personal sense of public loss, of a sort usually reserved for popes and Presidents. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 15 July 2021 Moten does her part by not allowing bullying of any sort in her group, which serves multiple purposes. Dawn Burkes, Los Angeles Times, 14 July 2021 This decade-old Overlook neighborhood bar already had a petite front patio of the sort that worked just fine for sipping Moscow mules or crushing Tecate tallboys before March 2020. oregonlive, 14 July 2021 Constantine and Helena parish in Merrillville hosting its GreekFest during the sort-of end of a pandemic over the weekend was a clinic in efficiency. Michelle L. Quinn,, 12 July 2021 Stories in the last few days undersold the case by describing it as one about fringe benefits, of the sort rarely prosecuted. Jennifer Rodgers, CNN, 2 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There are a trio of top tier high school shortstops to sort through, a duo of college aces and a college catcher who might be primed to be a star in a position that may undergo dramatic change in the next year or two. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 2 July 2021 The Fed believes the recent run-up in prices is the result of the disruptions brought on by the pandemic lockdowns and that as these sort themselves out, prices will settle down. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 18 June 2021 Still, most economists anticipate that current production and labor bottlenecks will sort themselves out by the end of the year. Washington Post, 10 May 2021 In those cases, the absentee ballot is discarded, a process that takes time to sort through, Myrie said. Ryan Teague Beckwith,, 16 Nov. 2020 Still, members couldn't reach an agreement on how to address the situation — even with a year to sort it out. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 1 July 2021 Eventually, the shipping industry thinks the container shortage will sort itself out. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, 30 June 2021 Whether those efforts succeed may take years to sort out, but there is already one clear winner: the nation’s legal industry. Cecilia Kang, New York Times, 29 June 2021 The company is proud of its highly sophisticated algorithm, which uses a mix of machine and human intelligence to help users sort through the thousands of titles on the platform. Josef Adalian, Vulture, 13 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near sort




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Last Updated

22 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on sort

Nglish: Translation of sort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sort for Arabic Speakers


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