\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most of that increase is accounted for by students with prior college credentials of some sort as opposed to those who are first-time credential earners. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 24 June 2022 It’s going to be retail of some sort, and that money (taxes from retail) is going to go to the city and the schools, whereas churches don’t pay taxes. cleveland, 15 June 2022 Crypto credit cards of some sort have been around for a long time in crypto, said Barhydt, but what makes this Amex-Abra tie-up of particular interest is the upscale clientele of the two companies. Ian Allison, Fortune, 10 June 2022 After that, there was a crisis of some sort every three days on average. New York Times, 1 June 2022 Over 750,000 people in the U.S. have end-stage renal disease of some sort and 500,000 are on dialysis, including 31,000 residents of New York. Ike Brannon, Forbes, 1 June 2022 Pilon has been charged by way of Information — a charging document that bypasses the federal grand jury process, and typically means the defendant is cooperating with authorities and working on a plea deal of some sort. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 27 Apr. 2022 The churning chaotic flows of information need to be monitored by an umpire of some sort, with certain people, ideas, and acts ruled out of bounds. Damon Linker, The Week, 26 Apr. 2022 Many transplants come from family members, friends, coworkers, or acquaintances of some sort. Brooks Sutherland, The Enquirer, 20 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The city’s planning and zoning commission’s public hearing Tuesday on the proposal for an adult-use shop at 89 Arch St., across from the convention center, was continued to June 28 to sort out who has zoning purview. Kenneth R. Gosselin, Hartford Courant, 15 June 2022 After World War II, the U.S. military had to sort out the remains of nearly 300,000 war dead. New York Times, 11 June 2022 Truthfully, the forces that are bound to pull and tear at this revival are impossible to sort out. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 25 Apr. 2022 Some chatbots are too slow, or completely fail to sort out a problem. David Prosser, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 The vote caps months of political turmoil and a constitutional crisis that required the Supreme Court to sort out. NBC News, 10 Apr. 2022 The vote caps months of political turmoil and a constitutional crisis that required the Supreme Court to sort out. Kyle Morris, Fox News, 9 Apr. 2022 On the big league side of things, manager Terry Francona and the front office still have to sort out Yu Chang, Owen Miller, Ernie Clement and Andres Gimenez in the infield. Paul Hoynes, cleveland, 2 Apr. 2022 In some instances, overpayments led to tax-deduction errors, leaving diplomats to sort out repayments and corrections. Jessica Donati, WSJ, 15 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About sort

Time Traveler for sort

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near sort




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for sort

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for sort


\ 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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!