\ 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 What’s more, many of the movies of the sort that Scorsese reveres would never have received anything like a wide theatrical release. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Martin Scorsese Avenges the Auteur," 7 Nov. 2019 There’s little sign that Trump is feeling any pressure of that sort at the moment. David Fickling | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "China Risks Overplaying Its Hand on Trade," 6 Nov. 2019 Unfortunately, the draft resolution that has been released does nothing of the sort. Author: Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Anchorage Daily News, "House committees seek testimony from John Bolton as Dems push impeachment resolution forward," 30 Oct. 2019 More calls to action of the sort issued by Microsoft president Brad Smith, who advocates for regulatory frameworks that protect human rights principles for facial recognition and other exciting technologies, are needed. Aron Cramer, Quartz at Work, "Capitalism is not working. Here’s how business leaders can fix it," 25 Oct. 2019 But this wasn’t a flattening of hierarchies of the sort long hymned in Silicon Valley reveries of the online demos. Nathaniel Friedman, The New Republic, "Moments Without Truth," 21 Oct. 2019 But according to emotional surveillance footage released by the district attorney's office Friday and obtained by the affiliate, Lowe did nothing of the sort. Dakin Andone, CNN, "This football coach disarmed a student with a gun. Then he hugged him," 19 Oct. 2019 That's not because of Ninja or Lady Gaga or anything of the sort, though. Kevin Rutherford, Billboard, "Lady Gaga, Ninja & 'Fortnight' (JK, 'Fortnite'): An Explainer," 17 Oct. 2019 This is false — the senators did not imply anything of the sort. NBC News, "Fact check: Trump's false claim that Democrats threatened Ukraine aid," 26 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kentucky has some sorting out to do before inaugurating its next governor. Bruce Schreiner, The Denver Post, "Kentucky governor’s race: Beshear claims victory while Bevin refuses to concede," 6 Nov. 2019 Indianapolis:State officials are suspending work requirements for low-income residents who receive their health insurance through Medicaid while a federal lawsuit challenging the plan is sorted out. USA TODAY, "Pooch hit by car goes for ride, manatee rescued, unusual toilet paper roller: News from around our 50 states," 1 Nov. 2019 The researchers used mass spectrometry, which involves breaking up proteins into pieces that are sorted by mass to produce a distinctive spectrum for each protein. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics," 17 Oct. 2019 The best part of the interview was when Cabello was sorted into her Hogwarts house, inspired by the Harry Potter series. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Is Camila Cabello a Gryffindor or a Slytherin? Watch Her Get Sorted Into Hogwarts," 16 Oct. 2019 Sheth estimated that 50-60 percent of incoming messages will be sorted under the new system. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "How OnePlus phones will smartly sort your texts using on-device AI," 27 Sep. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Labour sorted out its Brexit position, but not without a fight. The Economist, "Britain’s Labour Party heads further left," 26 Sep. 2019 Their stories were broken down into individual words, and the words were sorted according to their meaning and counted. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "New Clues Found in Understanding Near-Death Experiences," 10 Sep. 2019 Popma was selected as a Blue-Grey All-American and will compete in one of four games the group puts on in December and January depending on how the rosters are sorted., "Luke Popma, West Linn offensive lineman, selected for Blue-Grey All-American Bowl," 27 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for sort

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for sort

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

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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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