\ ˈsȯrt \

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 \ 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

Prophets of Rage are a supergroup of sorts with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine, Chuck D and DJ Lord of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill. Ed Masley, azcentral, "Summer concerts in Phoenix: Eagles, Post Malone, Logic, Panic! at the Disco, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa," 15 June 2018 Ayton was nervous and out of sorts in Phoenix’s first game, had double-doubles in the Suns’ wins over Sacramento and Orlando and then committed six turnovers in a lackluster performance against Philadelphia on Thursday. Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Phoenix Suns' summer-league takeaways: Deandre Ayton's progress, efforts of Davon Reed, Shaq Harrison," 13 July 2018 In late June, with the help of the couple’s three adult daughters, the Brooks staff arranged for a service in the chapel and a reception of sorts in the Brooks assembly room. Kate Santich,, "Orlando couple exchange vows in rehabilitation hospital," 6 July 2018 Mayer, who has been mounting a comeback of sorts in recent months, is apparently having a hard time finding a new famous woman to date. Allie Jones, The Cut, "What’s Going On With Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx?," 3 July 2018 And Trump picked up a win of sorts in a congressional district in his hometown of New York. Author: Ken Thomas, Catherine Lucey, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump enjoying a hot streak, a break from immigration news," 30 June 2018 Put chicken wire alongside it to create a funnel of sorts to channel the animals into the traps. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, "Nutsedge or other nuisance? How to tell the difference," 13 July 2018 There’s a reunion of sorts happening nearly 1,200 miles east of Sacramento. Noel Harris, sacbee, "How Isaiah Thomas is reuniting with one of his former Kings coaches 1,200 miles away," 12 July 2018 Nothing of the sort occurred when Anita Brazill’s parents, ages 86 and 87, were hospitalized seven times in Scranton, Pa., between Dec. 25, 2016, and Feb. 13, 2017. Judith Graham, Washington Post, "A Hospital’s Human Touch: Why Taking Care In Discharging A Patient Matters," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Olson was also thanked for staying with a dog owner at the animal hospital until things got sorted out after an incident involving a coyote. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa cop who punched teen at Mayfair was suspended three times before, records show," 26 June 2018 Manchin is facing Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in November, while the Missouri primary will sort out McCaskill’s challenger on Aug. 7 – the GOP front-runner is state Attorney General Josh Hawley. Fox News, "McCaskill suffers cracked rib after Manchin performs Heimlich maneuver on her," 25 June 2018 The photo, below, reignited an important debate: Which Gryffindor House would Taylor Swift be sorted into? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Taylor Swift and J.K. Rowling Posed for a Selfie and Ignited an Important Debate," 25 June 2018 Before things could be sorted out, the child left and is now in Mexico, according to the source. NBC News, "'Where's my kid?' At Texas border, desperate parents turn to attorneys to find their children," 24 June 2018 And once the status of relatively popular undocumented immigrants such as Dreamers is sorted out, support for dealing preemptively with many of the others will again rise among conservative voters. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "We’re Getting a Taste of the Backlash Mass Deportation Would Create," 18 June 2018 The Hudson school district in Summit County is among those paying for trips while the legal mess is sorted out. Patrick O'donnell,, "Discovery Tours insurance might cover some trip refunds, lawyer says," 8 May 2018 In both McConnell and Pelosi's cases, aides and allies appear to have decided that keeping or winning a majority is the only priority -- and everything else can be sorted out after November's midterm elections. Eric Bradner, CNN, "Mitch McConnell is becoming the GOP's Nancy Pelosi in midterm races," 3 May 2018 The proceedings also were delayed as clerks sorted out how to hold both votes. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "Debate over N-word erupts in Arizona House as teacher walkout tension increases," 25 Apr. 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

2 Sep 2018

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

: 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

: to deal with (something or someone) in a successful way


\ ˈsȯrt \

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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Comments on sort

What made you want to look up sort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an open space surrounded by woods

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