desultory

[des-uh l-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]

adjective

lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.

Nearby words

  1. desulfur,
  2. desulfurase,
  3. desulfurate,
  4. desulfurize,
  5. desulphurize,
  6. det,
  7. det.,
  8. det. in dup.,
  9. detach,
  10. detachable

Origin of desultory

1575–85; < Latin dēsultōrius pertaining to a dēsultor (a circus rider who jumps from one horse to another), equivalent to dēsul-, variant stem of dēsilīre to jump down (dē- de- + -silīre, combining form of salīre to leap) + -tōrius -tory1

Related formsdes·ul·to·ri·ly, adverbdes·ul·to·ri·ness, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for desultory


British Dictionary definitions for desultory

desultory

adjective

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
Derived Formsdesultorily, adverbdesultoriness, noun

Word Origin for desultory

C16: from Latin dēsultōrius, relating to one who vaults or jumps, hence superficial, from dēsilīre to jump down, from de- + salīre to jump

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 desultory

desultory

adj.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper