kind of

Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms.

kind 1

adj. kind·er, kind·est
1. Having or showing a friendly, generous, sympathetic, or warm-hearted nature.
2. Agreeable or beneficial: a dry climate kind to asthmatics.

[Middle English kinde, natural, kind, from Old English gecynde, natural; see genə- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: kind1, kindly, kindhearted, benign, benevolent
These adjectives mean having or showing a tender, considerate, and helping nature. Kind and kindly are the least specific: thanked her for her kind letter; a kindly gentleman. Kindhearted especially suggests an innately kind disposition: a kindhearted teacher. Benign implies gentleness and mildness: benign intentions; a benign sovereign. Benevolent suggests charitableness and a desire to promote the welfare or happiness of others: a benevolent contributor.

kind 2

a. A group of individuals or instances sharing common traits; a category or sort: different kinds of furniture; a new kind of politics.
b. A doubtful or borderline member of a given category: fashioned a kind of shelter; a kind of bluish color.
2. Archaic
a. Underlying character as a determinant of the class to which a thing belongs; nature or essence.
b. The natural order or course of things; nature.
c. Manner or fashion.
3. Obsolete
a. Lineal ancestry or descent.
b. Lineal ancestors or descendants considered as a group.
all kinds of Informal
Plenty of; ample: We have all kinds of time to finish the job.
in kind
1. With produce or commodities rather than with money: pay in kind.
2. In the same manner or with an equivalent: returned the slight in kind.
kind of Informal
Rather; somewhat: I'm kind of hungry.
of a kind
Of the same kind; alike: My father and my uncle are two of a kind.

[Middle English, from Old English gecynd, race, offspring, kind; see genə- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The words kind, sort, and type can be troublesome when they are used with plural nouns and modifiers. Sentences like I hate these kind of movies may occur with some frequency but are awkward, and some would say, grammatically incorrect. The Usage Panel frowns upon these usages. In our 2005 survey, 81 percent rejected the use of kind with a plural modifier and plural noun in the sentence Those kind of buildings seem old-fashioned. Fully 88 percent of the Panel found unacceptable the use of kind with a singular modifier and plural noun and verb in That kind of buildings seem old fashioned. In these examples kind would presumably function as a determiner like number in A great number of people have crowded into the lobby. (Note that number here is singular, but the plural verb have agrees with the plural noun people, so number is not really the subject of the sentence). This problem can be avoided by making the phrase entirely singular (as in That kind of movie is always enjoyable) or by revising so that the noun is the plural subject (as in Movies of that kind are always enjoyable). Bear in mind that plural kinds often implies that the phrase refers to a number of different categories of things—more than one genre of movie, for example. Perhaps the best solution is to drop the kind phrase entirely (Those movies are always enjoyable) or to be specific (Those spy movies are always enjoyable).

sort of

kind of

In conversation and in less formal writing, people use sort of or kind of in front of a noun to say that something could be described as being a particular thing.

It's a sort of dictionary of dictionaries.
I'm a kind of anarchist, I suppose.

People also use sort of or kind of in front of adjectives, verbs, and other types of word to mean 'a little' or 'in some way', or with very little meaning.

I felt kind of sorry for him.
I've sort of heard of him, but I don't know who he is.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.kind of - to some (great or small) extent; "it was rather cold"; "the party was rather nice"; "the knife is rather dull"; "I rather regret that I cannot attend"; "He's rather good at playing the cello"; "he is kind of shy"
References in classic literature ?
With a kind of wriggle, like a fish returned to the brook by the fisherman, Biddlebaum the silent began to talk, striving to put into words the ideas that had been accumulated by his mind during long years of silence.
In the picture men lived again in a kind of pastoral golden age.
With the boys of his school, Adolph Myers had walked in the evening or had sat talking until dusk upon the schoolhouse steps lost in a kind of dream.
Then there's another kind of bug that burrows under your fingernails, and if you don't get 'em out, your fingers drop off.
Footless by nature is the blooded, land-dwelling kind of the snakes; this is horny-scaled.
Olsman said other marathons across the country have to consider this kind of contrived change if it's to remain a viable TV product, since ratings aren't really justifying the rights fees any longer.
Kind of like how you feel when you're in your 30s and you wake up hung over on the floor of a crusty hotel room with a bunch of guys in their late teens and early 20s.
With the right kind of structure, staffing and workflow functioning correctly, the audit committee should be relying on the scope of work of the internal auditors to assess the organization and provide open, honest, assessments.
And Joseph Lengeling is the kind of architect who likes to think in terms of the bigger picture--his background is in master planning and his expertise is invaluable when Magnusson is working on a mixed-use community, the kind of project the firm has been doing more and more lately.
I wonder whether embracing full force a kind of designer attitude is really going to make us better parents and better families.
WITH EVERY DECEMBER ISSUE of Artforum there is the vague temptation to complement the cornucopia of "best of" accolades with a "top ten" of editorial regrets, a kind of modest, residual hot list comprising all things missed, failed, or forgotten--a minor literature of might-have-beens.