[ in-ter-mit-nt ]
See synonyms for intermittent on
  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.

  1. (of streams, lakes, or springs) recurrent; showing water only part of the time.

Origin of intermittent

First recorded in 1595–1605; from Latin intermittent- (stem of intermittēns ), present participle of intermittere “to leave a space between, drop off (for a while)”; see intermit, -ent

Other words for intermittent

Other words from intermittent

  • in·ter·mit·tence, in·ter·mit·ten·cy, noun
  • in·ter·mit·tent·ly, adverb
  • non·in·ter·mit·tence, noun
  • non·in·ter·mit·tent, adjective
  • non·in·ter·mit·tent·ness, noun
  • un·in·ter·mit·tent, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use intermittent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for intermittent


/ (ˌɪntəˈmɪtənt) /

  1. occurring occasionally or at regular or irregular intervals; periodic

Derived forms of intermittent

  • intermittence or intermittency, noun
  • intermittently, 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