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[spuh-rad-ik] /spəˈræd ɪk/
(of similar things or occurrences) appearing or happening at irregular intervals in time; occasional:
sporadic renewals of enthusiasm.
appearing in scattered or isolated instances, as a disease.
isolated, as a single instance of something; being or occurring apart from others.
occurring singly or widely apart in locality:
the sporadic growth of plants.
Sometimes, sporadical.
Origin of sporadic
1680-90; < Medieval Latin sporadicus < Greek sporadikós, equivalent to sporad- (stem of sporás strewn, akin to sporá spore) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
sporadically, adverb
sporadicalness, noun
[spawr-uh-dis-i-tee, spohr-] /ˌspɔr əˈdɪs ɪ ti, ˌspoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
sporadism, noun
3. separate, unconnected.
1. continuous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sporadically
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • sporadically and later, it existed further north but not generally.

  • In Oceania pottery is unknown save in the West, and there only sporadically.

    Evolution in Art Alfred C. Haddon
  • In the child these do not appear at all, or but sporadically.

  • On the other side, if used only sporadically, it is a matter of tone-color.

    English Verse Raymond MacDonald Alden, Ph.D.
  • She was petulant with the children, though she adored them--at least, sporadically.

    The Precipice Elia Wilkinson Peattie
British Dictionary definitions for sporadically


occurring at irregular points in time; intermittent: sporadic firing
scattered; isolated: a sporadic disease
Derived Forms
sporadically, adverb
sporadicalness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin sporadicus, from Greek sporadikos, from sporas scattered; related to Greek speirein to sow; see spore
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 sporadically



1650s (implied in sporadical), from Medieval Latin sporadicus "scattered," from Greek sporadikos "scattered," from sporas (genitive sporados) "scattered," from spora "a sowing" (see spore). Originally a medical term, "occurring in scattered instances;" the meaning "happening at intervals" is first recorded 1847. Related: Sporadically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sporadically in Medicine

sporadic spo·rad·ic (spə-rād'ĭk, spô-) or spo·rad·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)

  1. Occurring at irregular intervals.

  2. Occurring singly; not grouped.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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