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.
character, quality, or nature: young people of a nice sort.
an example of something that is undistinguished or barely adequate: He is a sort of poet.
manner, fashion, or way: We spoke in this sort for several minutes.
any of the individual characters making up a font of type.
characters of a particular font that are rarely used.
an instance of sorting.
verb (used with object)
to arrange according to sort, kind, or class; separate into sorts; classify: to sort socks; to sort eggs by grade.
to separate or take from other sorts or from others (often followed by out ): to sort the good from the bad; to sort out the children's socks.
to assign to a particular class, group, or place (often followed by with, together, etc.): to sort people together indiscriminately.
Scot. to provide with food and shelter.
Computers. to place (records) in order, as numerical or alphabetical, based on the contents of one or more keys contained in each record. Compare key1 ( def 19 ).
verb (used without object)
Archaic. to suit; agree; fit.
British Dialect. to associate, mingle, or be friendly.
Verb phrases
sort out,
evolve; develop; turn out: We'll just have to wait and see how things sort out.
to put in order; clarify: After I sort things out here, I'll be able to concentrate on your problem.
of sorts,
of a mediocre or poor kind: a tennis player of sorts.
of one sort or another; of an indefinite kind.
Also, of a sort.
out of sorts,
in low spirits; depressed.
in poor health; indisposed; ill.
in a bad temper; irritable: to be out of sorts because of the weather.
Printing. short of certain characters of a font of type.
sort of, Informal. in a way; somewhat; rather: Their conversation was sort of tiresome.

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

sortable, adjective
sortably, adverb
sorter, noun
missort, verb
subsort, noun
subsort, verb
subsorter, noun
undersort, verb (used with object)
unsort, verb (used with object)
unsortable, adjective

kind, sort, type (see usage note at kind)(see usage note at type).

1. family, order, race, rank, character, nature.

See kind2. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
sort (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 to some extent
7.  of sorts, of a sort
 a.  of an inferior kind
 b.  of an indefinite kind
8.  out of sorts not in normal good health, temper, etc
9.  informal sort of
 a.  (adverb) in some way or other; as it were; rather
 b.  (sentence substitute) used to express reservation or qualified assent: I’m only joking. Sort of
vb (foll by with)
10.  (tr) to arrange according to class, type, etc
11.  (tr) to put (something) into working order
12.  (tr) to arrange (computer information) by machine in an order convenient to the computer user
13.  informal to supply, esp with drugs
14.  archaic, dialect or (intr; foll by with, together, etc) to associate, as on friendly terms
15.  archaic (intr) to agree; accord
[C14: from Old French, from Medieval Latin sors kind, from Latin: fate]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1380, from O.Fr. sorte "class, kind," from L. sortem (nom. sors) "lot, fate, share, portion, rank, category," from PIE base *ser- "to line up" (cf. L. serere "to arrange, attach, join;" see series). The sense evolution in V.L. is from "what is allotted to one by fate,"
to "fortune, condition," to "rank, class, order." Out of sorts "not in usual good condition" is attested from 1621, with lit. sense of "out of stock."

1358, "to arrange according to type or quality," from O.Fr. sortir "allot, sort, assort," from L. sortiri "draw lots, divide, choose," from sors (see sort (n.)). In some senses, the verb is a shortened form of assort.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

sort definition

1. To arrange a collection of items in some specified order. The items - records in a file or data structures in memory - consist of one or more fields or members. One of these fields is designated as the "sort key" which means the records will be ordered according to the value of that field. Sometimes a sequence of key fields is specified such that if all earlier keys are equal then the later keys will be compared. Within each field some ordering is imposed, e.g. ascending or descending numerical, lexical ordering, or date.
Sorting is the subject of a great deal of study since it is a common operation which can consume a lot of computer time. There are many well-known sorting algorithms with different time and space behaviour and programming complexity.
Examples are quicksort, insertion sort, bubble sort, heap sort, and tree sort. These employ many different data structures to store sorted data, such as arrays, linked lists, and binary trees.
2. The Unix utility program for sorting lines of files.
Unix manual page: sort(1).
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
How this mask attained treasure status in the first place is a tale of another
It is a sort of accidental tour of the crooked, down and out or unlucky.
The particular way each vine climbs determines what sort of support you'll need
  to provide.
The challenge is deciding how to sort life into those categories.
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