In her book Wedding Night, Sophie Kinsella writes:

He's got a cushy number. Nice salary, cottage on the estate... he's sorted.

I looked up the meaning of "sort" in [insert dictionary here] and didn't find anything that looked relevant. The closest I found was the idiomatic usage "sorted out", but there's no "out" in this quote.

What does "he's sorted" mean?

  • Welcome to ELU! When asking about the meaning of a word, we require you to look in a dictionary first, and to show your work. I've edited your question, but you need to edit it too, to insert what dictionary you looked in, what you found there, and why it wasn't adequate to answer your question. – Marthaª Nov 20 '13 at 14:45
  • thanks for editting.I would know how to ask questions next time – user2492364 Nov 20 '13 at 14:55
  • @user2492364: While you are sorting things out, you might want to also check out the site for English Language Learners. – J.R. Nov 20 '13 at 15:15

In British English it means that the gent in question has got his life well-organised and in order.


    British informal
        organized, arranged, or dealt with satisfactorily:

Sorted can also be said of a person

(of a person) confident, organized, and emotionally well balanced

Which is the intention of the author here. He has a house, job and no worries. It can be said that he is sorted.

Also, I would expect that the text should read "a cushy number" and not "crushy".

(of a job or situation) undemanding, easy, or secure

  • 1
    In the USA, sorted is pronounced the same as sordid, which may be one factor in the absence of the idiom here. – John Lawler Nov 20 '13 at 17:23
  • @JohnLawler the above statement, I don't know where in the USA you're from, but everywhere in the States I've lived sorted is pronounced sorted. Sordid is pronounced sordid. Different words >_> – Doc Nov 20 '13 at 20:49
  • People will always tell you which one they're saying, or they think they're saying. But in fact /t/ and /d/ both merge to a tap [ɾ] after a stressed vowel before an unstressed one. There is sometimes a few millisecond's difference in vowel length (the stressed vowel before the original /d/ may be held slightly longer than the one before the original /t/), but that's minimal and masked in this case by the rhotic [ɹ] between the stressed vowel and the [ɾ]. I.e, the fnex is ['soɹɾɨd] vs ['so:ɹɾɨd], which nobody hears the difference between. We do it all from context. – John Lawler Nov 20 '13 at 21:28
  • @JohnLawler, in AmE, I would tend to pronounce the i in ‘sordid’ the same as in ‘did’ (i.e., non-reduced), making the two identical in the first syllable, but different in the second. In those dialects of BrE where post-stress dentals are flapped, though, the two words would merge completely for me (‘sawed it’ would also be the same, as would ‘sword it’). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 21 '13 at 1:45

Just like you have a problem and you have sorted it out (solved it), you can think of saying someone is "sorted" as "all the worries and problems in his life are sorted out, solved, are no longer bothering him".

This is of course an exaggeration, but in this context it simply means this person is said to have an ideal life and is satisfied in all aspects.

  • The OP found "sorted out", but it didn't help, because that's not what the source said. – Colin Fine Nov 20 '13 at 15:55

A rough American equivalent is that he is "set up." Or put another way, he has "sorted out" or put everything in good order.


From http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sorted

  • nice, friendly, pretty, cool, hip
  • to be 'in style'.

EDIT Though I was thinking about deleting this answer to avoid more down votes (Ste already provided the correct answer), I decide to leave it as it is for two reasons: to show how not to answer questions in ELU, and to help shed some light on how non-native speakers acquire English vocabulary which might be interesting or useful to some. (But no more down votes, please.)

English learners will run into the word sort soon enough. It is one of the most basic words you need to know (probably in any language). As a beginner, sort = to arrange something in order is enough. Sort of and sort out are usually introduced later once they gets more competent.

Beginners and intermediate learners usually translate everything into their own language before they can fully understand what they read or heard. At some point, with enough proficiency, they will begin to get the meaning of words directly, without having to translate them first. But this is not perfect (and it perhaps will never perfect). To compensate such imperfection, unfamiliar words and idioms are usually substituted by simpler words. For example, sort of might be substituted by kind of, and sort out by solve or resolve, depending on the context.

I myself ran into sorted a few times, and I always substituted it with great. This might not be utterly precise, but it is more than adequate. The first time I learned its meaning, I reasoned with myself that if something was sorted out or someone has sorted out (as in their problems or their lives), it can be said that that something or someone is sorted.

The first time I saw the quote He's got a cushy number. Nice salary, cottage on the estate... he's sorted, I subliminally substitutes sorted with great, as I explained in a now deleted comment:

Someone with nice salary, with a cottage on the estate is surely a great guy to be with. To say a person is sorted in this context suggests that he is a cool guy, a desirable guy.

The best link I got was Urban Dictionary (I couldn't find sorted in any dictionary at that time too). Seeing the definition above was close enough, I hastily posted the link, with my good intention, hoping it can help. Since according to my experience, a question like this has rarely got answered.

The big clue that I really missed was the fact that Sophie Kinsella is an English writer, not an American. If only I knew that I would look up some British dictionary first.

  • 1
    Why do you believe either of those meanings is relevant to this quote? – Marthaª Nov 20 '13 at 14:44
  • The down votes make me really regret answering this question. Maybe I was too naively thinking that I could help by just giving the OP a reference, which for me is just enough if I were in her position. A good lesson learned! – Damkerng T. Nov 20 '13 at 15:08
  • 1
    "Did you give John the heroin?" "Yeah, he's sorted...." – mplungjan Nov 20 '13 at 15:09
  • 3
    It's never too late to edit your answer, and bolster it up a bit. Rather than answer someone's question with another comment, it's often better to improve your answer, making it more meaty or substantiated. Lastly, don't assume that the person who left the comment is also the one who cast the downvote; that's often not the case. – J.R. Nov 20 '13 at 15:14
  • 1
    Comments can only be edited for five minutes, but answers can be edited indefinitely – even months or years after they submitted. That said, users have the ability to delete their own comments, if desired. – J.R. Nov 20 '13 at 17:26

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