from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A group of persons or things of the same general character; a kind.
  • n. Character or nature: books of all sorts.
  • n. One that exemplifies the characteristics of or serves a similar function to another: "A large dinner-party ... made a sort of general introduction for her to the society of the neighbourhood” ( George Eliot).
  • n. A person; an individual: The clerk is a decent sort.
  • n. A way of acting or behaving.
  • n. Printing One of the characters in a font of type.
  • n. An act or instance of sorting: did a sort on the columns of data.
  • transitive v. To arrange according to class, kind, or size; classify. See Synonyms at arrange.
  • transitive v. To separate from others: sort out the wheat from the chaff.
  • transitive v. To clarify by going over mentally: She tried to sort out her problems.
  • idiom after a sort In a haphazard or imperfect way: managed to paint the chair after a sort.
  • idiom sorts Of a mediocre or inferior kind: a constitutional government of a sort.
  • idiom sorts Of one kind or another: knew many folktales of sorts.
  • idiom out of sorts Slightly ill.
  • idiom out of sorts Irritable; cross: The teacher is out of sorts this morning.
  • idiom sort of Informal Somewhat; rather: "Gambling and prostitution . . . have been prohibited, but only sort of” ( George F. Will).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A general type.
  • n. group, company.
  • n. A person.
  • n. An act of sorting.
  • n. An algorithm for sorting a list of items into a particular order.
  • n. A piece of metal type used to print one letter, character, or symbol in a particular size and style.
  • v. To separate according to certain criteria.
  • v. To arrange into some order, especially numerically, alphabetically or chronologically.
  • v. To fix a problem, to handle a task; to sort out.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Chance; lot; destiny.
  • n. A kind or species; any number or collection of individual persons or things characterized by the same or like qualities; a class or order
  • n. Manner; form of being or acting.
  • n. Condition above the vulgar; rank.
  • n. A chance group; a company of persons who happen to be together; a troop; also, an assemblage of animals.
  • n. A pair; a set; a suit.
  • n. Letters, figures, points, marks, spaces, or quadrats, belonging to a case, separately considered.
  • intransitive v. To join or associate with others, esp. with others of the same kind or species; to agree.
  • intransitive v. To suit; to fit; to be in accord; to harmonize.
  • transitive v. To separate, and place in distinct classes or divisions, as things having different qualities
  • transitive v. To reduce to order from a confused state.
  • transitive v. To conjoin; to put together in distribution; to class.
  • transitive v. To choose from a number; to select; to cull.
  • transitive v. To conform; to adapt; to accommodate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To give or appoint by lot; hence, in general, to allot; assign.
  • To ordain; decree.
  • To select; choose; pick out.
  • To set apart; assign to a particular place or station; rank; class.
  • To separate into sorts; arrange according to kind; classify: sometimes with over.
  • To conform; accommodate; adapt; suit.
  • To put in the proper state or order; set right; adjust; dispose.
  • To supply in suitable sorts; assort.
  • To procure; obtain; attain; reach.
  • To punish; chastise.
  • To cast lots; decide or divine anything by lot; hence, in general, to practise divination or soothsaying.
  • To come to pass; chance; happen; turn out; specifically, to have a satisfactory issue; succeed.
  • To tend; lead; conduce.
  • To be of the same sort or class (with another); be like or comparable; consort; associate; agree; harmonize: with with, rarely to.
  • To be suitable or favorable.
  • n. A lot; that which is awarded or determined by lot; hence, in general, one's fate, fortune, or destiny.
  • n. Allotted station or position; condition; rank; specifically, high rank; social eminence.
  • n. Characteristic mode of being; nature; quality; character.
  • n. A number of persons, things, ideas, etc., grouped together according to the possession of common attributes; a kind, as determined by nature, quality, character, or habits; a species; a class.
  • n. Specifically— A particular class or order of people.
  • n. In printing, one of the characters or pieces in a font of type, considered with reference to its relative supply or lack: nearly always in the plural: as, to be out of sorts (that is, to lack some of the necessary types in a case); to order sorts for a font (that is, to order more of the kinds of type of which it is deficient).
  • n. Kind: used indefinitely of something more or less resembling the thing specified: with of, like kind of. See kind, n., 5, and compare sort of below.
  • n. A number or quantity of things of the same kind or used together; a set; a suit.
  • n. A group; a flock; a troop; a company.
  • n. Particular mode of action or procedure; manner; fashion; way.
  • n. Out of health or spirits; out of the normal condition of body or mind; cross.
  • n. In printing, short of one or more characters in type: said of a compositor, or of his case.
  • n. [Sort, like kind, is often erroneously used in the singular form with a plural force and connection. Compare kind.
  • n. Synonyms Kind, Sort, Kind is by derivation a deeper or more serious word than sort; sort is often used slightingly, while kind is rarely so used.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. examine in order to test suitability
  • v. arrange or order by classes or categories
  • n. a person of a particular character or nature
  • n. a category of things distinguished by some common characteristic or quality
  • n. an approximate definition or example
  • n. an operation that segregates items into groups according to a specified criterion


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin sors, sort-, lot.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French sorte ("class, kind"), from Latin root of sors ("lot, fate, share, rank, category")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French sortir ("allot, sort"), from Latin sortire ("draw lots, divide, choose"), from sors



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