\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

Previous research suggests that between 70% and 80% of surgical mishaps are the result of interactions between those present going wrong in some way, as opposed to being technical failures of one sort or another. The Economist, "Mixed surgical teams lead to less medical error," 2 July 2018 For the valley's growing community of backyard farmers, the investment in heritage birds pays off in a status symbol of sorts: colorful eggs that can be given as gifts to friends. CBS News, "Backyard chickens rule the roost in Silicon Valley," 25 June 2018 More recently, many companies and governments have been interested in using blockchains to store data that has nothing to do with virtual currency transactions, or transactions of any sort. New York Times, "Confused About Blockchains? Here’s What You Need to Know," 27 June 2018 The region is not known for alpinism or climbing of any sort. Matt Skenazy, Outside Online, "The Last Days of Marc-André Leclerc," 19 June 2018 Preventing draft-night spoilers of any sort from a star NBA reporter would mean leaving a tremendous asset unharvested, withering on the vine. Phil Rosenthal,, "Please, ESPN, don't muzzle Adrian Wojnarowski's NBA draft spoilers," 19 June 2018 Cindy Garcia was trying to defend her husband, who's not an animal, who's not committed a crime of any sort. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Deported Mich. man's wife: Conservative media distorted Trump remarks," 7 June 2018 Denver has no titles of any sort and hasn’t been particularly close, with no NBA Finals appearances. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Moore: What would an NBA title mean to Phoenix Suns fans? Everything.," 26 May 2018 The good news is that rifles of any sort are seldom used in crimes, and hard to fit through your doggie door. Popular Mechanics, "Which Ordinary Household Items Could Actually Stop a Bullet?," 18 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

My goal is to sort through the information to provide others with evidence based information that may be useful for others. SELF, "What Even Is Alkaline Water and Is It Really Better Than Regular Water?," 6 Sep. 2018 On a visit to their childhood home, Merrywood, to see their mother Janet and their stepfather, Jackie and Lee came together and sorted through old diaries, letters, and artifacts stored in the attic. Sam Kashner And Nancy Schoenberger, Town & Country, "How Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill Found Careers and Happiness in the 1970s," 13 Aug. 2018 The two chambers will have to sort out their differences, and the House reforms deserve to prevail. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Food Fight Worth Having," 8 July 2018 In a sign that Duterte hoped to defuse the controversy, his spokesman, Harry Roque, said the government had created a panel to reach out to the Catholic Church in hopes of sorting out their differences. Felipe Villamor,, "‘Who is this stupid God?’ For latest insult, Philippine leader aims high," 27 June 2018 Both Democrats and Republicans agreed that sorting through such a pile of amendments at the end of a session would be difficult. Jonathan Lai,, "Pa. redistricting reform not dead … but close to it," 26 June 2018 Lawmakers are sorting out the differences this week in the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "Tax break for undocumented immigrants pushed by California Democrats," 7 June 2018 Two belligerent male house wrens were sorting out their differences while field sparrows calmly went about their business. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Refuge is a perfect spot for leisurely birding | Charlotte Observer," 4 May 2018 My message to them: Please do not sort out your differences here on Iraqi soil. Vivienne Walt / Baghdad, Time, "Iraq's Prime Minister on the Unfinished Business Left By 15 Years of War," 8 Mar. 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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Learn More about sort

Dictionary Entries near sort



sorry about that





Statistics for sort

Last Updated

11 Nov 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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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