View synonyms for sort


[ sawrt ]


  1. a particular kind, species, variety, class, or group, distinguished by a common character or nature:

    to develop a new sort of painting;

    nice people, of course, but not really our sort.

    Synonyms: nature, character, rank, order, family, class

  2. character, quality, or nature:

    young people of a nice sort.

  3. an example of something that is undistinguished or barely adequate:

    He is a sort of poet.

  4. manner, fashion, or way:

    We spoke in this sort for several minutes.

  5. Printing.
    1. any of the individual characters making up a font of type.
    2. characters of a particular font that are rarely used.
  6. an instance of sorting.

verb (used with object)

  1. to arrange according to sort, kind, or class; separate into sorts; classify:

    to sort socks;

    to sort eggs by grade.

  2. to separate or take from other sorts or from others (often followed by out ): to sort out the children's socks.

    to sort the good from the bad;

    to sort out the children's socks.

  3. to assign to a particular class, group, or place (often followed by with, together, etc.):

    to sort people together indiscriminately.

  4. Scot. to provide with food and shelter.
  5. Computers. to place (records) in order, as numerical or alphabetical, based on the contents of one or more keys contained in each record. Compare key 1( def 19 ).

verb (used without object)

  1. Archaic. to suit; agree; fit.
  2. British Dialect. to associate, mingle, or be friendly.

verb phrase

    1. to evolve; develop; turn out:

      We'll just have to wait and see how things sort out.

    2. to put in order; clarify:

      After I sort things out here, I'll be able to concentrate on your problem.


/ sɔːt /


  1. a class, group, kind, etc, as distinguished by some common quality or characteristic
  2. informal.
    type of character, nature, etc

    he's a good sort

  3. a more or less definable or adequate example

    it's a sort of review

  4. often plural printing any of the individual characters making up a fount of type
  5. archaic.
    manner; way

    in this sort we struggled home

  6. after a sort
    after a sort to some extent
  7. of sorts
    of sortsof a sort
    1. of an inferior kind
    2. of an indefinite kind
  8. out of sorts
    out of sorts not in normal good health, temper, etc
  9. sort of informal.
    sort of
    1. adverb in some way or other; as it were; rather
    2. sentence substitute used to express reservation or qualified assent

      I’m only joking. Sort of


  1. tr to arrange according to class, type, etc
  2. tr to put (something) into working order
  3. tr to arrange (computer information) by machine in an order convenient to the computer user
  4. informal.
    trfoll bywith to supply, esp with drugs
  5. archaic.
    intr; foll by with, together, etc to associate, as on friendly terms
  6. archaic.
    intr to agree; accord

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Usage Note

See kind 2.

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See kind 2

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Derived Forms

  • ˈsortable, adjective
  • ˈsorter, noun
  • ˈsortably, adverb

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Other Words From

  • sorta·ble adjective
  • sorta·bly adverb
  • sorter noun
  • mis·sort verb
  • subsort noun
  • sub·sort verb
  • sub·sorter noun
  • under·sort verb (used with object)
  • un·sort verb (used with object)
  • un·sorta·ble adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sort1

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English noun, from Middle French sorte, from Medieval Latin sort- (stem of sors ) “kind, allotted status or portion, lot,” Latin: originally, “lot (for voting)”; Middle English verb sorten “to allot, arrange, assort,” from Middle French sortir or directly from Latin sortīrī “to draw lots,” derivative of sors; later senses influenced by the noun and by assort

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sort1

C14: from Old French, from Medieval Latin sors kind, from Latin: fate

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. of sorts, Also of a sort.
    1. of a mediocre or poor kind:

      a tennis player of sorts.

    2. of one sort or another; of an indefinite kind.
  2. out of sorts,
    1. in low spirits; depressed.
    2. in poor health; indisposed; ill.
    3. in a bad temper; irritable:

      to be out of sorts because of the weather.

    4. Printing. short of certain characters of a font of type.
  3. sort of, Informal. in a way; somewhat; rather:

    Their conversation was sort of tiresome.

More idioms and phrases containing sort

see after a fashion (sort) ; all kinds (sorts) of ; bad sort ; it takes all sorts ; kind (sort) of ; nothing of the kind (sort) ; of sorts ; out of sorts .

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Example Sentences

I also noticed that on the sort of holidays and things like that, food was always really central.

From Ozy

To make the process faster, you should offer some sort of internal website search functionality.

The flipside, of course, is that this is James Harden — the sort of offensive talent that any coach would want the chance to build a system around if given the opportunity.

To his surprise, he found quite a few reports describing this sort of immune cross-protection.

Stylistically, the Mystery Ship looks like a sort of dead end, but thematically, Craig Vetter knew exactly where motorcycles were headed.

Is it sort of evidence of the Gladwellian 10,000 hours theory?

I had enough experiences around languages that it just sort of happened.

When he was first incarcerated, he says some sort of paperwork snafu had him imprisoned under two different, but similar, names.

But I trusted Tony Robbins could sort me out on both fronts.

Luckily, Tor was prepared for this sort of assault, and has built-in defenses to protect against it.

This treacherous sort of calm, we thought, might forbode a storm, and we did not allow it to lull us into security.

I want to see the sort of thing happening to schools that has already happened to many sorts of retail shops.

It is no good settling down in a world that, on its part, refuses to do anything of the sort.

Now in addition to that I had something else in my own college course—something of the same sort of thing but better.

Presently he began to shiver so, with some sort of a chill, that I took off my coat and wrapped it round him.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.