Nearby words

  1. sorrowful,
  2. sorrowfully,
  3. sorrows,
  4. sorrows of young werther, the,
  5. sorry,
  6. sort code,
  7. sort out,
  8. sorta,
  9. sortal,
  10. sortation


Origin of sort

1200–50; (noun) Middle English < Middle French sorte < Medieval Latin sort- (stem of sors) kind, allotted status or portion, lot, Latin: orig., voter's lot; (v.) Middle English sorten to allot, arrange, assort (< Middle French sortir) < Latin sortīrī to draw lots, derivative of sors; later senses influenced by the noun and by assort

Related forms
Can be confusedkind2 sort type (see usage note at kind2) (see usage note at type)

Usage note

See kind2. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for sort out

sort out

verb (tr, adverb)

to find a solution to (a problem, etc), esp to make clear or tidyit took a long time to sort out the mess
to take or separate, as from a larger grouphe sorted out the most likely ones
to organize into an orderly and disciplined group
informal to beat or punish



a class, group, kind, etc, as distinguished by some common quality or characteristic
informal type of character, nature, etche's a good sort
a more or less definable or adequate exampleit's a sort of review
(often plural) printing any of the individual characters making up a fount of type
archaic manner; wayin this sort we struggled home
after a sort to some extent
of sorts or of a sort
  1. of an inferior kind
  2. of an indefinite kind
out of sorts not in normal good health, temper, etc
sort of informal
  1. (adverb)in some way or other; as it were; rather
  2. (sentence substitute)used to express reservation or qualified assentI’m only joking. Sort of


(tr) to arrange according to class, type, etc
(tr) to put (something) into working order
(tr) to arrange (computer information) by machine in an order convenient to the computer user
(tr foll by with) informal to supply, esp with drugs
(intr; foll by with, together, etc) archaic, or dialect to associate, as on friendly terms
(intr) archaic to agree; accord
Derived Formssortable, adjectivesortably, adverbsorter, noun

Word Origin for sort

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


See kind 2

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 sort out
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sort out


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.

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