[ in-ter-mit-nt ]
/ ˌɪn tərˈmɪt nt /


stopping or ceasing for a time; alternately ceasing and beginning again: an intermittent pain.
alternately functioning and not functioning or alternately functioning properly and improperly.
(of streams, lakes, or springs) recurrent; showing water only part of the time.

Nearby words

  1. intermingle,
  2. intermission,
  3. intermissive,
  4. intermit,
  5. intermittence,
  6. intermittent acute porphyria,
  7. intermittent claudication,
  8. intermittent cramp,
  9. intermittent current,
  10. intermittent explosive disorder

Origin of intermittent

1595–1605; < Latin intermittent- (stem of intermittēns) present participle of intermittere to intermit; see -ent

Related forms
Can be confusedcontinual continuous intermittent (see usage note at continual) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intermittent

British Dictionary definitions for intermittent


/ (ˌɪntəˈmɪtənt) /


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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for intermittent


[ ĭn′tər-mĭtnt ]


Stopping and starting at intervals.
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.