kind of

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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 ?
It is no wonder that in an age when this kind of merit is so little in fashion, and so slenderly provided for, persons possessed of it should very eagerly flock to a place where they were sure of being received with great complaisance; indeed, where they might enjoy almost the same advantages of a liberal fortune as if they were entitled to it in their own right; for Mr Allworthy was not one of those generous persons who are ready most bountifully to bestow meat, drink, and lodging on men of wit and learning, for which they expect no other return but entertainment, instruction, flattery, and subserviency; in a word, that such persons should be enrolled in the number of domestics, without wearing their master's cloathes, or receiving wages.
The pickaxe first struck upon a kind of black earth, six inches in thickness, which was speedily disposed of.
At the bottom of the excavation they constructed a wheel of oak, a kind of circle strongly bolted together, and of immense strength.
I had scarcely had an hour's rest, when he came again for me with a saddle and bridle and a new kind of bit.
As I looked at the leaves and branches and gnarls, it came to me with distressing vividness that I had seen that same kind of tree many and countless times n my sleep.
Now, let's see what kind of fish we have caught today," said the Green Fisherman.
I must admit that a Marionette fish is, for me, an entirely new kind of fish.
I think she kind of likes me, too; she smoothed my hair once.
Oh, Anne, I know I've been kind of strict and harsh with you maybe-- but you mustn't think I didn't love you as well as Matthew did, for all that.
Some take hold of suits, only for an occasion to cross some other; or to make an information, whereof they could not otherwise have apt pretext; without care what become of the suit, when that turn is served; or, generally, to make other men's business a kind of entertainment, to bring in their own.
I asked her to let me think a minute; and she set there, very impatient and ex- cited and handsome, but looking kind of happy and eased-up, like a person that's had a tooth pulled out.
She wondered, with little intermission what could be the reason of it; was sure there must be some bad news, and thought over every kind of distress that could have befallen him, with a fixed determination that he should not escape them all.