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Something to remember from this: when root (or, actually, the mount point for /tmp) has no space then pipes do not work.
Simply expand your terminal and run
cd / ; du -hs
and look for the heavy players. You may have to drill down a folder tree a bit.
My personal take, is that it might be easier to boot form a usb device or live-cd and work. That way you can examine the file system properly (mounted or not as needed) and pipes will work because they wil not depend upon the full filesystems.
pipes are a kernel structure - no disk storage is used. You might be confusing how Microsoft implemented "pipes", which aren't pipes but temporary files...
The error shown is for sort which does use disk space.
Since root if full, the first place to look is at /tmp (since your df doesn't show /tmp being used for a mount point). If there is some large files there - get rid of them. Many systems are using tmpfs for /tmp which uses memory (and swap) for temporary storage. The advantage is that /tmp is always empty after a boot.
Then look at /var. A "du -sh *" will show rather quickly which directories are rather full. In my case the biggie is cache... but log tends to get large too (mine is currently 4.2G).
/var/tmp can usually be cleaned out - but watch out for things like systemd. Some desktop systems will also use /var/tmp as well as some system tools.
The usual culprit is /var/log - if you don't have log rotation configured. Delete old logs you don't need - and set up for log rotation if your system isn't doing it. Some logs that you should be able to delete are things like Xorg..log (and the (.old logs).
The first places to look are often /tmp and /var/log. Sometimes, if logrotate isn't installed or isn't working properly, log files can run out of control, and temporary files can also grow unchecked. Also, don't worry about /proc. It's not real place.