[ in-ter-mit-nt ]
/ ˌɪn tərˈmɪt nt /
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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.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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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 FROM intermittent

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for intermittent

British Dictionary definitions for intermittent

/ (ˌɪntəˈmɪtənt) /


occurring occasionally or at regular or irregular intervals; periodic

Derived forms of intermittent

intermittence 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

Medical definitions for intermittent

[ ĭn′tər-mĭtnt ]


Stopping and starting at intervals.
Marked by intervals of complete quietude occurring between two periods of activity.

Other words from intermittent

in′ter•mittence n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.