of a kind

kind

2 [kahynd]
noun
1.
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.
2.
nature or character as determining likeness or difference between things: These differ in degree rather than in kind.
3.
a person or thing as being of a particular character or class: He is a strange kind of hero.
4.
a more or less adequate or inadequate example of something; sort: The vines formed a kind of roof.
5.
Archaic.
a.
the nature, or natural disposition or character.
b.
manner; form.
6.
Obsolete. gender; sex.
Idioms
7.
in kind,
a.
in something of the same kind or in the same way as that received or borne: They will be repaid in kind for their rudeness.
b.
in goods, commodities, or services rather than money: In colonial times, payment was often made in kind.
8.
kind of, Informal. to some extent; somewhat; rather: The room was kind of dark.
9.
of a kind, of the same class, nature, character, etc.: They are two of a kind.

Origin:
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

kind, sort, type (see usage note at the current entry)(see usage note at type).


1. order, genus, species; race, breed; set.


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.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
kind1 (kaɪnd)
 
adj
1.  having a friendly or generous nature or attitude
2.  helpful to others or to another: a kind deed
3.  considerate or humane
4.  cordial; courteous (esp in the phrase kind regards)
5.  pleasant; agreeable; mild: a kind climate
6.  informal beneficial or not harmful: a detergent that is kind to the hands
7.  archaic loving
 
[Old English gecynde natural, native; see kind²]

kind2 (kaɪnd)
 
n
1.  a class or group having characteristics in common; sort; type: two of a kind; what kind of creature?
2.  an instance or example of a class or group, esp a rudimentary one: heating of a kind
3.  essential nature or character: the difference is one of kind rather than degree
4.  archaic gender or sex
5.  archaic nature; the natural order
6.  in kind
 a.  (of payment) in goods or produce rather than in money
 b.  with something of the same sort: to return an insult in kind
7.  informal kind of
 a.  (adverb) somewhat; rather: kind of tired
 b.  (sentence substitute) used to express reservation or qualified assent: I figured it out. Kind of
 
usage  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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

kind
"class, sort, variety," from O.E. gecynd "kind, nature, race," related to cynn "family" (see kin), from P.Gmc. *gakundiz (see kind (adj.)). Ælfric's rendition of "the Book of Genesis" into O.E. came out gecyndboc. The prefix disappeared 1150-1250. No exact cognates beyond
English, but it corresponds to adj. endings such as Goth -kunds, O.H.G. -kund. Also as a suffix (mankind, etc.). Other earlier, now obsolete, senses in English included "character, quality derived from birth" and "manner or way natural or proper to anyone." Use in phrase a kind of (1590s) led to colloquial extension as adv. (1804) in phrases such as kind of stupid ("a kind of stupid (person)").

kind
"friendly," from O.E. gecynde "natural, native, innate," originally "with the feeling of relatives for each other," from P.Gmc. *gakundiz, from *kunjan (see kin), with collective prefix *ga- and abstract suffix *-iz. Sense development from "with natural feelings," to "well-disposed"
(c.1300), "benign, compassionate" (c.1300). Kindly (adj.) is O.E. gecyndelic. Kind-hearted is from 1530s; kindness is from late 13c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

of a kind

  1. Of some sort, but not a typical or perfect specimen. For example, They have a backyard of a kind, but it's tiny. This usage was first recorded in 1895. For a synonym, see of sorts.

  2. one of a kind. A unique instance, as in There are no others like it; this hybrid daylily is one of a kind, or She's extremely generous, one of a kind. Also see two of a kind.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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