a class or group of individual objects, people, animals, etc., of the same nature or character, or classified together because they have traits in common; category: Our dog is the same kind as theirs.
nature or character as determining likeness or difference between things: These differ in degree rather than in kind.
a person or thing as being of a particular character or class: He is a strange kind of hero.
a more or less adequate or inadequate example of something; sort: The vines formed a kind of roof.
  1. the nature, or natural disposition or character.
  2. manner; form.
Obsolete. gender; sex.

Nearby words

  1. kincardine,
  2. kincardineshire,
  3. kinchin,
  4. kinchinjunga,
  5. kincob,
  6. kind of,
  7. kind-hearted,
  8. kinda,
  9. kindergarten,
  10. kindergartener


Origin of kind

before 900; Middle English kinde, Old English gecynd nature, race, origin; cognate with Old Norse kyndi, Old High German kikunt, Latin gēns (genitive gentis); see kin

Can be confusedkind sort type (see usage note at the current entry) (see usage note at type)

Usage note

The phrase these (or those ) kind of, followed by a plural noun ( these kind of flowers; those kind of shoes ) is frequently condemned as ungrammatical because it is said to combine a plural demonstrative ( these; those ) with a singular noun, kind. Historically, kind is an unchanged or unmarked plural noun like deer, folk, sheep, and swine, and the construction these kind of is an old one, occurring in the writings of Shakespeare, Swift, Jane Austen, and, in modern times, Jimmy Carter and Winston Churchill. Kind has also developed the plural kinds, evidently because of the feeling that the old pattern was incorrect. These kind of nevertheless persists in use, especially in less formal speech and writing. In edited, more formal prose, this kind of and these kinds of are more common. Sort of has been influenced by the use of kind as an unchanged plural: these sort of books. This construction too is often considered incorrect and appears mainly in less formal speech and writing.
Kind (or sort ) of as an adverbial modifier meaning “somewhat” occurs in informal speech and writing: Sales have been kind (or sort ) of slow these last few weeks. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for kind of




having a friendly or generous nature or attitude
helpful to others or to anothera kind deed
considerate or humane
cordial; courteous (esp in the phrase kind regards)
pleasant; agreeable; milda kind climate
informal beneficial or not harmfula detergent that is kind to the hands
archaic loving

Word Origin for kind

Old English gecynde natural, native; see kind ²




a class or group having characteristics in common; sort; typetwo of a kind; what kind of creature?
an instance or example of a class or group, esp a rudimentary oneheating of a kind
essential nature or characterthe difference is one of kind rather than degree
archaic gender or sex
archaic nature; the natural order
in kind
  1. (of payment) in goods or produce rather than in money
  2. with something of the same sortto return an insult in kind
kind of informal
  1. (adverb)somewhat; ratherkind of tired
  2. (sentence substitute)used to express reservation or qualified assentI figured it out. Kind of

Word Origin for kind

Old English gecynd nature; compare Old English cyn kin, Gothic kuni race, Old High German kikunt, Latin gens


The mixture of plural and singular constructions, although often used informally with kind and sort, should be avoided in serious writing: children enjoy those kinds (not those kind) of stories; these sorts (not these sort) of distinctions are becoming blurred

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for kind of
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with kind of

kind of

Also, sort of. Rather, somewhat, as in I'm kind of hungry, or The bird looked sort of like a sparrow. [Colloquial; c. 1800] This usage should not be confused with a kind of or a sort of, which are much older and refer to a borderline member of a given category (as in a kind of a shelter or a sort of a bluish color). Shakespeare had this usage in Two Gentlemen of Verona (3:1): “My master is a kind of a knave.” Also see of a kind.


In addition to the idiom beginning with kind

  • kind of

also see:

  • all kinds of
  • in kind
  • nothing of the kind
  • of a kind
  • two of a kind
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.