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Kristin: What led me to it, um… I guess it was a series of things that kind of led up to it. My, uh, uncle for example, he’s been a vegetarian as far back as I can remember. So that wasn't a new concept to my family at all. Um, I can remember when I was in high school I just kind of started losing the taste for meat, particularly red meat and, uh, chicken. I, by the end of, uh, high school I’d pretty much cut those out.

1)Does those "kind of " mean "rather, to some extent" in the link below? https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictiona...of-a-something

Is it an adverb or a preposition?

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    As Ronald Sole says, both occurrences of 'kind of' seem to be hesitation/softening devices, and can be removed without affecting the meaning. Jul 22, 2018 at 11:47

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Your link is not working properly for me.

However, 'kind of' as used in your paragraph is an adverb, but it can also be used as an adjective, e.g. 'He was wearing a kind of jacket.'

The definition that you cited is correct, i.e. 'kind of' means rather or to some extent. 'Kind of' or the very similar phrase 'sort of' literally mean that the thing (or action) being compared is in the same category as the thing (or action) it is being compared to, but by implication the two are not exactly the same. The degree of similarity between the two is not specified by the phrase; they may be very similar or very distinct.

In your paragraph, the writer uses 'kind of' to indicate that they are somewhat reluctant to use the terms 'led' and 'started' to describe how they became a vegetarian. Those words tend to describe a fairly linear progression from a starting point to an point. Instead, the writer is trying to say that there was no clear start point, or end point; i.e. they were not following a specific plan or path, but over a period of time found that they had drifted into a vegetarian lifestyle.

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Kind of is one of a number of "hesitation devices" that English speakers use, generally to gather their thoughts before speaking further. Some people are quite unable to utter a sentence without including such interjections.

He looked kind of unhappy.

They kind of failed the exam.

Other popular devices are you know, um, er, ah and often so.

Such devices are often used to introduce a thought; typically well I mean and the thing is.

Kind of and its twin brother sort of are also frequently used to soften statements. These are typically used by people who want to say something impressive but, at the same time, don't want to commit themselves.

We are kind of certain that we will be there.

I was not able to link to your website example but kind of is often used to mean to some extent. There are also people who are simply addicted to their use, as my younger North American relatives are to saying he/she went meaning said or reacted.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/05/06/the_odd_body_language_fillers/

https://www.engvid.com/sound-more-fluent-in-english-hesitation-devices/

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