\ 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

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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


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

Opting for a letter of intent rather than a firm order contract also gives IAG an insurance policy of sorts for a jetliner whose immediate future is still uncertain, Teal Group’s Aboulafia said., "Boeing lands a showstopper deal to sell 200 new 737 Max planes," 18 June 2019 Also, Sanders' departure was an impressive milestone of sorts for the Trump administration. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: Justin Bieber Wants to Fight Tom Cruise," 16 June 2019 Was this another victory of sorts for employee activism before employees even acted? Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Employee activism is great—until it pits colleagues against each other," 1 June 2019 The Georgian capital has become an incubator of sorts for up-and-coming designers in recent years, and its locals are synonymous with a daring, cutting-edge brand of street style. Vogue, "The Best Street Style from Tbilisi Fashion Week Fall 2019," 3 May 2019 And both sorts are revealing—as is the way with baseball—of broader national traits. The Economist, "Baseball and exceptionalism," 8 June 2019 The prime real estate in question serves as a buffer zone of sorts between the Preston Center shopping complex to the south and Preston Hollow single-family homes. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "Dallas plan commission supports controversial North Dallas rezoning plan," 6 June 2019 Join the 100s of volunteers helping to pack bags, count and sort items and run food drives. Dominik Dumancic/share,, "GO Pantry summer food drive helps children in Northern Kentucky," 6 June 2019 There is also pleasure, often of an ironic sort, in calling someone by a name that connotes indelible connection. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "Please, My Wife, She’s Very Online," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Deontay Wilder wants to fight them all and let God sort the mess. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Andy Ruiz says he's the boss in Anthony Joshua rematch negotiation: 'I call the shots now'," 6 June 2019 Courant content manager Russell Blair sorts through piles of legislation in the 2019 session’s waning hours, where much is still up for grabs. Michael Hamad,, "Capitol Watch Podcast: Connecticut’s 2019 legislative session: What passed, what died and what’s still left," 4 June 2019 Annie Noonan of San Francisco, who's with Rey's group, helped unload and unpack supplies at the Catholic center on Sunday, sorting clothes by size. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Volunteers flock to help immigrant children: 'There is love out there'," 25 June 2018 One of the big unknowns for U.S. economic growth heading into the presidential election year needs to be sorted out by lawmakers in the coming months: the path for government spending. Kate Davidson, WSJ, "Spending Battle Clouds Outlook for U.S. Growth," 7 Apr. 2019 Children were often sorted by country, gender and age, to keep older and younger ones apart. Author: Maria Sacchetti, Kevin Sieff, Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, "Separated migrant children are all over the country," 25 June 2018 The start of the game was delayed several minutes as officials sorted out a lineup discrepancy. Stephen Whyno, The Seattle Times, "Holtby sharp as Capitals beat Flyers to end losing streak," 24 Mar. 2019 The name of the game was to build political support for an idea that currently had little support and sort the details out later. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The $21 trillion Pentagon accounting error that can’t pay for Medicare-for-all, explained," 3 Dec. 2018 Liverpool appear set to make an audacious bid of €65m for AS Roma's Alisson as Jurgen Klopp looks to sort his goalkeeping situation once and for all., "Liverpool Attempt to Beat Rivals to Brazilian International's Signing With €65m Offer," 12 July 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

24 Jun 2019

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
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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