sort of

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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".


sort of (not comparable)

  1. (idiomatic, colloquial)  Approximately; in a way; partially; not quite; somewhat.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 19, 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.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess[1]:
      ‘I understand that the district was considered a sort of sanctuary,’ the Chief was saying. ‘An Alsatia like the ancient one behind the Strand, or the Saffron Hill before the First World War. […]’
    It sort of makes sense the way he explains it, but I still don't really understand.



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