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intermittent

[in-ter-mit-nt]
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adjective
  1. stopping or ceasing for a time; alternately ceasing and beginning again: an intermittent pain.
  2. alternately functioning and not functioning or alternately functioning properly and improperly.
  3. (of streams, lakes, or springs) recurrent; showing water only part of the time.

Origin of intermittent

1595–1605; < Latin intermittent- (stem of intermittēns) present participle of intermittere to intermit; see -ent
Related formsin·ter·mit·tence, in·ter·mit·ten·cy, nounin·ter·mit·tent·ly, adverbnon·in·ter·mit·tence, nounnon·in·ter·mit·tent, adjectivenon·in·ter·mit·tent·ly, adverbnon·in·ter·mit·tent·ness, nounun·in·ter·mit·tent, adjectiveun·in·ter·mit·tent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedcontinual continuous intermittent (see usage note at continual)

Synonyms

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1. interrupted, sporadic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for intermittent

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • At last they died off softly, like the intermittent drops that end a day of rain.

  • He had intermittent periods of numbness in the lower half of his body.

  • From within it there came a tiny hum, intermittent, almost inaudible.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • It is a kind of attention which we pay to ourselves, and is intermittent rather than continuous.

  • Jeff's face had cleared of its brooding and its intermittent scowl.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown


British Dictionary definitions for intermittent

intermittent

adjective
  1. occurring occasionally or at regular or irregular intervals; periodic
Derived Formsintermittence or intermittency, nounintermittently, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for intermittent

adj.

c.1600, from Latin intermittentem (nominative intermittens), present participle of intermittere (see intermission). Related: Intermittently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

intermittent in Medicine

intermittent

(ĭn′tər-mĭtnt)
adj.
  1. Stopping and starting at intervals.
  2. Marked by intervals of complete quietude occurring between two periods of activity.
Related formsin′ter•mittence n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.