Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
From a reanalysis of "sort of" in a phrase such as "a sort of merry dance" from noun ("sort") and preposition ("of") from the prepositional phrase "of merry dance" to adverb modifying "merry".
- (idiomatic, colloquial) Approximately; in a way; partially; not quite; somewhat.
1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 19, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
- It sort of makes sense the way he explains it, but I still don't really understand.
in a way etc.