a kind of

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a kind of (something)

A replacement or alternative to (the real thing). I had to use the block of wood as a kind of hammer to get the loose nail back into place.
See also: kind, of

a kind of something

a variety of something that is fairly close to the real thing, even though it is not exactly the real thing. I used a folded newspaper as a kind of hat to keep the rain off. Bill is serving as a kind of helper or assistant on this project.
See also: kind, of