sort

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
3
a
archaic : method or manner of acting : way, manner
b
: character, nature
people of an evil sort
4
a
: 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

sort

2 of 2

verb

sorted; sorting; sorts

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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 realityHenry Trewhitt
3
: search
sort through some old papers
sortable adjective
sorter noun
Phrases
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
2
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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The Mavs offense is out of sorts with Doncic and Irving shooting 7-of-19 and four second-quarter turnovers. Lawrence Dow, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 7 June 2024 This Rubicon of sorts — borrowing together — broke new ground, and arguably prevented the collapse of the E.U. into a deeper and longer recession. Matina Stevis-Gridneff, New York Times, 7 June 2024
Verb
The hotel has taken steps to become more sustainable, including installing two beehives on the hotel rooftop and sorting waste with Take a Waste. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, 12 June 2024 The paper from November contained a proof that particular types of expander graphs must contain sorting networks. Quanta Magazine, 7 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for sort 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sort.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, fate, lot, characteristic, from Latin sort-, sors lot, share, category — more at series

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near sort

Cite this Entry

“Sort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sort. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

sort

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: a group of persons or things that have something in common : class
b
: person sense 1, individual
not a bad sort
2
a
archaic : method or manner of acting : way, manner
b
: general disposition : nature
people of an evil sort

sort

2 of 2 verb
1
: to separate and arrange by kind or class : classify
sort mail
sort out socks by color
2
: agree sense 6, suit
our views sort poorly with theirs
3
: search
sort through some old papers
sorter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on sort

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