Meaning of SORT in English


I. sort 1 S1 W1 /sɔːt $ sɔːrt/ BrE AmE noun

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: sorte , from Latin sors 'chance, what you get by luck, share, condition' ]

1 . TYPE/KIND [countable] a group or class of people, things etc that have similar qualities or features SYN type , kind

sort of

What sort of shampoo do you use?

all sorts (of something) (=a lot of different types of things)

I like all sorts of food – I’m not fussy.

of this/that sort

On expeditions of this sort, you have to be prepared for trouble.

of some sort/some sort of something (=used when you do not know exactly what type)

He wondered if Rosa was in some sort of trouble.

There was a game of some sort going on inside.

Most of the victims developed psychological problems of one sort or another (=of various different types) .

They do burgers, pizzas, that sort of thing.

2 . sort of spoken

a) used to say that something is partly true but does not describe the exact situation:

I sort of like him, but I don’t know why.

‘Do you know what I mean?’ ‘Sort of.’

b) used when you are trying to describe something but it is difficult to find the right word or to be exact:

Then they started sort of chanting.

The walls are a sort of greeny-blue colour.

sort of like (=used very informally when searching for the right words)

It was sort of like really strange and mysterious, walking round this empty building.

c) used to make what you are saying sound less strong or direct:

Well, I sort of thought we could go out together sometime.

It was sort of a shock when I found out.

d) sort of price/time/speed etc especially British English a price etc that is not very exact, but could be slightly more or less:

That’s the sort of price I was hoping to pay.

What sort of time were you thinking of starting?

3 . of sorts ( also of a sort ) used when something is not a good or typical example of its kind of thing:

I had a conversation of sorts with a very drunk man at the bus stop.

4 . sort of thing especially British English spoken used when you are mentioning or describing something in a way that is not definite or exact:

We could just stay here and pass the time, sort of thing.

She uses a wheelchair sort of thing.

5 . what sort of ... ? especially British English spoken used when you are angry about what someone has said or done:

What sort of time do you call this to come in?

6 . nothing of the sort especially British English spoken used to say angrily that something is not true or that someone should not do something:

‘I’m going to watch TV.’ ‘You’ll do nothing of the sort!’

7 . PERSON [singular] British English someone who has a particular type of character, and is therefore likely to behave in a particular way SYN type :

Iain’s never even looked at another woman. He’s not the sort.

8 . it takes all sorts (to make a world) British English used to say that you think someone is behaving in a strange or crazy way:

He goes climbing up cliffs without ropes or anything? Oh well, it takes all sorts.

9 . COMPUTER [singular] if a computer does a sort, it puts things in a particular order

10 . ILL/UPSET out of sorts feeling a little ill or upset:

Louise went back to work feeling rather out of sorts.

• • •


■ adjectives

▪ this/that sort

We must ensure that this sort of thing does not happen again.

▪ some sort

There has been some sort of error.

▪ the same sort

We had the same sort of background.

▪ a similar sort

It’s a similar sort of house.

▪ a different sort

Barbara never stopped wanting a different sort of life.

▪ the right sort

Wearing the right sort of clothing could save your life.

▪ other sorts

What other sorts of books do you like?

▪ all sorts (=many different sorts)

He collects all sorts of musical instruments.

■ phrases

▪ of one sort or another (=of various different sorts)

Quite a large number of them suffered injuries of one sort or another.

• • •


▪ type/kind/sort one member of a group of people or things that have similar features or qualities. Type is the usual word to use in scientific or technical contexts. In everyday English, people usually use kind or sort :

What type of fish is this?


There are two main personality types.

▪ kind a type of person or thing. Kind is less formal than type , and is used especially in everyday English:

What kind of food do you like?


There were all kinds of people there.


The study is the first of its kind in Ireland.

▪ sort especially British English a type of person or thing. Sort is less formal than type , and is used especially in everyday British English:

What sort of person is she?


I like all sorts of music.

▪ form one type of something from all the ones that are possible – used especially when things have different physical characteristics, or in certain fixed phrases:

There are many forms of heart disease.


Melanoma is a form of skin cancer.


The first primitive life forms consumed various materials, including hydrogen sulfide, and released oxygen.


In those days, horses were the commonest form of transport.


We need to use alternative forms of energy.


a popular form of entertainment

▪ variety a type that is slightly different from others in the same group:

The French make many varieties of cheese.


This is a new variety of apple.

▪ species a type of plant or animal, which can breed together to produce plants or animals of the same type:

These forests contain many species of trees.


The giant panda is an endangered species.

▪ of a ... nature formal used when talking about a particular type of thing:

Many people find it embarrassing to discuss problems of a sexual nature.


Minor incidents of this nature normally occur about once a month.

▪ category a group of people or things that are all of the same type – used when there is a clear system for deciding which group something belongs to:

The three major categories of rock are: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.


She won the best actress category at the Oscars.

▪ brand used when talking about the particular way that someone does something or thinks about something, when this is very different from that of other people:

She has her own special brand of humour.


He has called for a more positive brand of politics.

▪ genre formal a type of art, music, literature etc. that has a particular style or feature:

He has written novels in several genres, most notably science fiction.

II. sort 2 S1 W3 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

1 . to put things in a particular order or arrange them in groups according to size, type etc:

The eggs are sorted according to size.

sort something into something

Let’s sort all the clothes into piles.

All the names on the list have been sorted into alphabetical order.

2 . British English spoken to deal with a situation so that all the problems are solved and everything is organized ⇨ sorted :

Right, I’ll leave this for Roger and Terry to sort, then.

sort something/somebody ↔ out phrasal verb

1 . to arrange or organize something that is mixed up or untidy, so that it is ready to be used:

We need to sort out our camping gear before we go away.

2 . to separate one type of thing from another:

I’ve sorted out the papers that can be thrown away.

sort something/somebody ↔ out from

First, sort the white things out from the other clothes.

3 . especially British English to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation:

She went to a psychiatrist to try to sort out her problems.

I’ll be glad to get this misunderstanding sorted out.

sort yourself out/get yourself sorted out (=deal with all your problems)

I’m staying with a friend until I manage to sort myself out.

4 . especially British English to succeed in making arrangements for something:

Have you sorted out where you’re going to live yet?

She is trying to sort out childcare.

5 . sort itself out British English if something sorts itself out, it stops being a problem without you having to do anything:

Our financial problems should sort themselves out in a week or two.

6 . British English informal to stop someone from causing problems or annoying you, especially by attacking or punishing them:

If he bothers you again, I’ll sort him out.

sort through something phrasal verb

to look for something among a lot of similar things, especially when you are arranging these things into an order:

Vicky sat down and sorted through the files.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.