late 14c., "group of people, animals, etc.; kind or variety of person or animal," from Old French sorte "class, kind," from Latin sortem (nominative sors) "lot; fate, destiny; share, portion; rank, category; sex, class, oracular response, prophecy," from PIE root *ser- (2) "to line up."
The sense evolution in Vulgar Latin is from "what is allotted to one by fate," to "fortune, condition," to "rank, class, order." Later (mid-15c.) "group, class, or category of items; kind or variety of thing; pattern, design." Out of sorts "not in usual good condition" is attested from 1620s, with literal sense of "out of stock."
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