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sortal Line breaks: sor¦tal
Pronunciation: /ˈsɔːt(ə)l/
Linguistics & Philosophy

Definition of sortal in English:


Denoting or relating to a term representing a semantic feature that applies to an entity as long as it exists, classifying it as being of a particular kind.
Example sentences
  • Let ‘F’ and ‘G’ be certain sortal terms, that is to say, general terms denoting certain sorts or kinds of substantial individual.
  • Such completely general terms as ‘thing’ ‘entity’ or ‘object’, on Dummett's view, are not genuine sortal terms, since they fail to provide any criteria of identity.
  • It will be shown that a semantic fit between the sortal restrictions activated by the preposition and a depicted object results in inhibitory effects.


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A sortal term, for example human as opposed to engineer.
Example sentences
  • Another type of important simple sortal comprises the stage sortals that apply exclusively to partly real individuals of a given kind.
  • Moreover, artifact sortals can be essentially or nonessentially artifactual.
  • Sortals for living objects determine principles of activity; sortals for artifacts determine principles of functioning.
Definition of sortal in:
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