\ 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

And of course there is multiplying confusion of all sorts related to gender identity, ethnic identity, and much more. Nr Interview, National Review, "Identity Politics Runs Much Deeper than Politics," 27 Aug. 2019 But in the past couple years, with the increasing popularity of low-carb diets of all sorts, keto has arrived as the ultimate anti-carb diet, with many of its advocates reporting weight loss as a result. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What's the Difference Between Eating Low-Carb, Paleo, and Keto?," 26 Aug. 2019 Laughs of all sorts, whether through performances, art, showcases, panel discussions or podcast recordings, will be offered at Baltimore venues as funny folk from all over gather for this third annual celebration of what tickles our funny bones. Chris Kaltenbach,, "Things to do in Baltimore this week: Billie Holiday Arts & Music Festival, Baltimore Comedy Festival and more," 25 Aug. 2019 Social media companies have struggled to combat fake news of all sorts, from political propaganda to bogus warnings about vaccines such as MMR for measles, mumps, and rubella. Washington Post, "UK to pressure social media companies to fight anti-vax info," 21 Aug. 2019 Bookselling is an ancient and complicated profession, and fake editions of all sorts can turn up anywhere. David Streitfeld, New York Times, "Paging Big Brother: In Amazon’s Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite," 19 Aug. 2019 To satisfy her wide-ranging cultural appetite, Ms. Stratter went to performances of all sorts. Globe Staff,, "Yolanda Stratter, who ran Allston-Brighton’s iconic Disk’overy used books and records shop, dies at 78," 18 Aug. 2019 Necking of all sorts as tourists wait in lines that can easily surpass the one-hour mark just to catch a glimpse of the famously diminutive painting. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "Mona Lisa's New Location Leads to Hours-Long Waits at the Louvre," 15 Aug. 2019 And though Google stopped indexing 8chan back in 2015, taking some wind out of its sails, the site has still managed to become a go-to for hate speech of all sorts and, of late, mass shooters spreading their extremist propaganda. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Cloudflare Ditches 8chan. What Happens Now?," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Plastic recycling is surprisingly hard to get right, due to a handful of challenges ranging from government policies and lax collection programs, to a lack of education about sorting, to soft demand for recycled plastics even once it's produced. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "PepsiCo To Cut Back on Non-Recycled Plastics in Its Bottles by 2025," 13 Sep. 2019 Her world, consequently, is sorted into three categories of people: assets, impediments, and those who, being neither, effectively do not exist. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, "What Edith Wharton Knew, a Century Ago, About Women and Fame in America," 10 Sep. 2019 The crop of College Football Playoff teams are barely sorted through Week 2, though LSU earned a statement win in Austin on Saturday night. Michael Shapiro,, "Bowl Projections: Win Over Texas Opens LSU's Path to the Playoff," 10 Sep. 2019 The researchers then sorted words into five large principal groups according to their common meaning. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "New Clues Found in Understanding Near-Death Experiences," 10 Sep. 2019 The board approved the phone-call subsidy pilot program, however, which is contingent on a new vendor being in place by next March, something the supervisors believe will be sorted out by then. Robert Salonga, The Mercury News, "Santa Clara County looks to join trend of subsidizing inmate phone calls," 10 Sep. 2019 For example, deodorant containers (often packaged with several different types of plastic) and flexible packaging like potato chip bags (which are lined with aluminum and can often end up being incorrectly sorted with paper) aren’t. Elena Shao,, "Recycling: 10 tips for getting it right," 9 Sep. 2019 Details were sorted out between the Afghan president and the American side when Mr. Khalilzad arrived from Doha and held four rounds of talks with Mr. Ghani. Peter Baker, New York Times, "How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart," 8 Sep. 2019 Stimpson and the other taxonomic zoologists sorted, described and classified this avalanche of specimens. Smithsonian, "The Hard-Drinking Early Smithsonian Naturalists of the Megatherium Club," 4 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries near sort



sorry about that





Statistics for sort

Last Updated

2 Sep 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

Comments on sort

What made you want to look up sort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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