\ 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 Now, the country is in another era and faces a trial of a different sort. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With a pandemic and protests over racial injustice, Independence Day raises the question: Whose America are we celebrating?," 4 July 2020 The death appears to be the result of an accident of some sort. Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, "Search for Naya Rivera continues: Authorities use sonar to navigate murky waters," 12 July 2020 What Lloyd does know is Olmsted Falls City Schools will provide roughly 3,600 students in-person instruction of some sort and a distance learning option for those that do not want to send their kids back until there is a vaccine. John Benson, cleveland, "Olmsted Falls City Schools superintendent questions whether ‘wild west’ awaits reopening of schools in the fall," 10 July 2020 Nearly every experience is mediated by a filter of some sort, usually intellectual in nature. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "The Shallowness of the Self-Aware Novelist," 9 July 2020 Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, agrees that vandals of this sort should face stiffer penalties in future. The Economist, "Criminal justice Sentencing policy gets tougher," 27 June 2020 The men and women who make a living pulling fish and crab out of Northern California’s frigid waters are not the sort who typically seek attention or help from politicians. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Bay Area is opening up. But coronavirus cases aren’t going down," 10 June 2020 For a book so interested in synthesis, itemizations of this sort abound, many of them traceable to Whitman’s own rolling, accumulative lines. The New Yorker, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 7 June 2020 As for homicides, Smith said the majority continue to take place between acquaintances of some sort. Carol Robinson |, al, "Birmingham crime down double digits in 1st half of 2020, police report," 5 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Get everybody tested, sort them out, do the monitoring. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "Beshear screening 700 inmates for early release after COVID-19 cases rise in prisons," 29 July 2020 There’s a lot of roster turnover for Niumatalolo to sort through, which is to be expected at a service academy. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, "AAC college football preview: Can the UC Bearcats challenge Memphis Tigers for AAC crown?," 8 July 2020 Stop the avalanche of school papers from tumbling onto your kitchen counters by creating a spot to sort school work and papers in the mudroom. Megan Boettcher, Better Homes & Gardens, "7 Easy Ways to Organize Your Mudroom to Get Ready for School," 7 July 2020 From Fulmer to Miguel Cabrera, from Christin Stewart to Jeimer Candelario, the Tigers have plenty to sort through in a relatively short window. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "I saw the Detroit Tigers' future at Comerica Park. And it looks good.," 4 July 2020 And a shortage of poll workers to help sort through it all. Amelia Pak-harvey, The Indianapolis Star, "Thousands of Marion County ballots unreturned in primary election, roughly 1,800 rejected," 30 June 2020 Other people will write their books and scholars in the future will- will- will sort it out. CBS News, "Transcript: John Bolton on "Face the Nation," July 5, 2020," 5 July 2020 That’s a really tricky hurdle, trying to sort out right now, while managing their fears. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Jimmie Johnson in good spirits but 'heartbroken' for daughters after he tests positive for COVID-19," 5 July 2020 Officers separated the pair and began to sort out the situation. cleveland, "Woman losses $9,000 in electronic currency scam: Bay Village Police Blotter," 3 July 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

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 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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