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90s Slang You Should Know


[fit-fuh l] /ˈfɪt fəl/
coming, appearing, acting, etc., in fits or by spells; recurring irregularly.
Origin of fitful
First recorded in 1595-1605; fit2 + -ful
Related forms
fitfully, adverb
fitfulness, noun
sporadic, intermittent, erratic, haphazard. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fitfully
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sunshine and shadow chased each other with wonderful swiftness across the trees, like a fitfully blazing fire.

    Little Johannes Frederik van Eeden
  • What his history had been was a secret which he illuminated only fitfully.

  • Their meetings, their talks together, were like the torchlight that flashed and wavered and only fitfully revealed.

    Amabel Channice Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • We slept but fitfully, and rose early to help prepare our breakfast.

    Border Ghost Stories Howard Pease
  • But my treasury is empty, since even the taxes come in only fitfully.

    The Pharaoh and the Priest Alexander Glovatski
  • We knew whose was the lean, lank figure, fitfully revealed, which held it.

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
  • The other matter which fitfully preoccupied him was his unpleasant and unintentional interview with Sondheim.

    The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
  • Round the train of thy skirt, O my Peacock, I fitfully squirm.

British Dictionary definitions for fitfully


characterized by or occurring in irregular spells: fitful sleep
Derived Forms
fitfully, adverb
fitfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fitfully



used once by Shakespeare ("Macbeth," 1605) in sense of "characterized by fits," then revived by Scott (1810) with a sense of "shifting, changing." From fit (n.2) + -ful. Related: Fitfully; fitfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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