- lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
- digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
Origin of desultory
SynonymsSee more synonyms for desultory on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for desultorily
They went on to talk, desultorily, of Don Ippolito, and what he might be like.A Foregone Conclusion
William Dean Howells
The storm wore away as desultorily as it had come, and the long night set in.The Lone Star Ranger
"You look tired and ill, Oak," he said then, desultorily regarding his companion.Far from the Madding Crowd
All these apartments were now deserted, save for a few flunkeys who stood about desultorily in the window embrasures.Petticoat Rule
Emmuska Orczy, Baroness Orczy
But, tired of playing, he had desultorily come round the fence, and was rambling up behind her.Tess of the d'Urbervilles
- passing or jumping from one thing to another, esp in a fitful way; unmethodical; disconnected
- occurring in a random or incidental way; haphazarda desultory thought
Word Origin and History for desultorily
1580s, "skipping about," from Latin desultorius "hasty, casual, superficial," adjective form of desultor (n.) "a rider in the circus who jumps from one horse to another while they are in gallop," from desul-, stem of desilire "jump down," from de- "down" (see de-) + salire "to jump, leap" (see salient (adj.)). Sense of "irregular, without aim or method" is c.1740. Related: Desultorily; desultoriness.