So, I was reading an article, and just saw this sentence here:

I figured I'd sort out the train into the city instead of hopping in a cab.

Is that a common usage of "sort out"? It seems like it would mean "search for" or something like that, but I've never seen it used in this way. I checked in Macmillan and I think it may fit into definition 3 or 5, but it still sounds weird to me.

  • I see @EdwinAshworth, that makes more sense, though it's kinda funny to see a phrasal verb doubling up in meaning like that. I've seen sort out mainly used in the way of 'figuring out' or 'organizing' (definitions 1 and 2), but your explanation makes sense and stays true to the dictionary meaning of the phrasal verb. Nov 30, 2021 at 20:04
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    [Augmented; largely prior to comment/response above] I'll probably not find a subsense in a dictionary backing this up, but I've always taken this as meaning 'find the necessary information and make the necessary arrangements [to facilitate the operation involved]'. Macmillan senses 3 & 4. The DO (dancing, music, train, transport ...) may be predictable, but (as with 'train', 'buses') may be metonymic ('train' = 'transport using a train/trains'). Nov 30, 2021 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


sort out (v.)

Arrange or organize something

They are anxious to sort out travelling arrangements

I've sorted the travel - that's no problem. Lexico

He stood beside her as she sorted out the ticket, then they walked across the car park together, almost amused. Ann Enright; A Green Road

From the Job Centre, we went straight to the train station to sort out the train times. Richard Cliff; Franklyn

I have sorted out the train tickets to get the cast up to Edinburgh on Monday. Robert Bryndza; The Not So Secret Email of Coco Pinchard

Roger had sorted out the travel arrangements with S.E.L. but coordinating everything else was delegated to Ian. Andy Gee; Livin' the Dream

The Firm had sorted out the plane ticket for Mark and, here he was, bright and early, at Heathrow airport, waiting to fly British Airways to Frankfurt; from Frankfurt, a Lufthansa flight would take him to Tehran. James Brandon; Zahedan


From Longman Dictionary:

Sort out:

  1. (especially British English) to succeed in making arrangements for something.

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