\ 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 Lucky breaks await, perhaps in the form of travel opportunities or a sudden windfall of some sort., "Horoscope," 23 June 2020 Some wood is missing, and there is filler of some sort and a metal band. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Restoring a century-old stair rail," 22 June 2020 As long as there is food of some sort available for purchase, a bar or club can be considered a restaurant and therefore can be open. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "7 questions answered about dining at Arizona restaurants during coronavirus," 20 June 2020 More automobile trips of any sort will reduce the global oversupply of gasoline, said Patrick De Hann, Gas Buddy’s head of petroleum analysis. Randy Diamond,, "San Antonio gas prices are creeping up," 17 June 2020 The coronavirus counter-experts fall into a few clear intellectual styles—character types, of a sort. Ari Schulman, The New Republic, "The Coronavirus and the Right’s Scientific Counterrevolution," 15 June 2020 Obviously, donations of any sort and in any size are wonderful. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit chef was gifted 100K pound of cooked chicken. Here's why.," 11 June 2020 If the township becomes a city in the future, leaders would choose a future policing model that could include a theoretical City of The Woodlands police force of some sort. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Woodlands leaders: no plans to defund law enforcement," 10 June 2020 These groups provide escapism of a different and specific sort: a brief getaway to your pre-pandemic life, with all of its flaws and mundanities. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "The Facebook Groups Where People Pretend the Pandemic Isn’t Happening," 4 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The intersection of misinformation and the coronavirus pandemic is a serious risk for Americans who struggle to sort fact from fiction online, where lies about the nature of the crisis have flourished. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Helping seniors fight 'infodemic': Poynter's MediaWise combats misinformation," 24 June 2020 The safecracker can sort through that accidental information to learn the combination. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "Hacker Lexicon: What Is a Side Channel Attack?," 21 June 2020 After the furore caused by Mr Li’s comments, China’s National Bureau of Statistics tried to sort out the confusion this week. The Economist, "Clarifying the battle lines China’s poverty line is not as stingy as commentators think," 20 June 2020 Sixty games are hardly enough time to sort out a baseball season. John Fay,, "RedsXtra: A shorter season is not good news for the Cincinnati Reds," 20 June 2020 Alas, my plan to sort and cull my thousands of books — — failed to make allowance for human nature. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "By day, I’ve been trying to cull my book collection. But at night, eBay beckons.," 17 June 2020 There, children and adults can connect with trauma counselors to sort out their issues and get help, Steele said. Arizona Republic, "Calls to the child-abuse hotline have dropped 27%. What that means for kids," 16 June 2020 Polak’s situation raises a litany of questions that the league might need to sort out. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Roman Polak, who signed deal with Czech hockey team, says he may not return to Stars if NHL season resumes," 15 June 2020 You may be puzzled by someone's passive-aggressive behavior but may not be able to sort things out under these stars. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for June 6, 2020: Gemini, lessen your stress; Scorpio, pull out the tact and diplomacy," 6 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for sort

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sort

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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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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