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I'm an American and I refer to a situation which is settled as "sorted out." My English family would just say that it's "sorted". Which is the earlier expression? Did Americans add the preposition or did the English drop it?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Sorted has a few specific meanings in British English that are extrapolations from the usual meaning of 'sort out', ie to put things in order. They are slang expressions and 'sort out' would still be preferable in formal or written English, although not for all the slang meanings below.

The slang meanings of 'sorted' are described by the OED:

British informal

  • organized, arranged, or dealt with satisfactorily: ‘And your social commitments?’ ‘They’re well sorted 'he‘s working on that old car he’s been trying to get sorted

  • (of a person) confident, organized, and emotionally well balanced: after a while, you realize they're not as sorted as they seema pretty sorted kind of bloke

  • (of a person) prepared for or provided with something (especially illegal drugs).

@Henry mentioned the more menacing usage above, described by the OED here:

sort someone out (informal)

deal with a troublesome person, typically by reprimanding or punishing them:if he can‘t pay you, I’ll sort him out

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The question is "Which is the earlier expression?" –  kiamlaluno Feb 26 '11 at 12:46
    
I said that the slang meanings are extrapolations from the usual meaning of sort out. –  gpr Feb 27 '11 at 1:50

Well, when I've spent time in England I frequently heard the term "sort you out" as meaning "get you what you need."

Person 1: "I need two tickets to the Man-United / Liverpool match tonight."

Person 2: "Well, just see me mate Archie then. He'll sort you out."

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In this sense it is more "deal with the problem", either in your positive sense, or more negatively in something like "If he's been bothering her, I'll sort him out" which would probably involve (threats of) violence. –  Henry Feb 26 '11 at 3:05

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