View synonyms for intermittent


[ in-ter-mit-nt ]


  1. stopping or ceasing for a time; alternately ceasing and beginning again:

    an intermittent pain.

    Synonyms: sporadic, interrupted

  2. alternately functioning and not functioning or alternately functioning properly and improperly.
  3. (of streams, lakes, or springs) recurrent; showing water only part of the time.


/ ˌɪntəˈmɪtənt /


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

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Derived Forms

  • ˌinterˈmittence, noun
  • ˌinterˈmittently, adverb

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Other Words From

  • 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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of intermittent1

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)”; intermit, -ent

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Example Sentences

He found, for instance, that regular rewards speed up learning, whereas intermittent rewards produce behavior that’s hard to extinguish in the lab.

Unlike coal and natural gas, renewable resources are intermittent—meaning they don’t work when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

From Time

A University of Southern California study found that creating long-term behavioral change comes down to repetition, stable cues, and intermittent rewards.

Let’s watch radar, to make these intermittent rain chances manageable.

Sun poked through intermittent clouds, illuminating rows upon rows of the green Alaska Range that seemed to go on forever.

Internet availability was “intermittent” and other forms of communication scarce.

After six months of intermittent interrogations and several lie detector tests, Elahi got off the hook.

MORE FROM DAILYBURN: What 200 Calories of Nuts Looks Like [Infographic] Intermittent Fasting: Is It Right for You?

The missus and the kids pay intermittent lip service to living on a farm.

To learn more about the intermittent fasting diets discussed in this article, visit The 8-Hour Diet and The Fast Diet.

The brazen roar of the cannon is mingled with the intermittent rattle of innumerable machine guns.

After ten days of intermittent suffering, during which the valet had felt no apprehension, he had died suddenly.

Day after day they rode through caons and winding intermittent gullies, shallow basins, and dry washes.

About five minutes afterwards, in some intermittent flash of reason, he found he had got hold of something.

When Dr. Smith arrived, he found him suffering from an attack of intermittent fever, and hastened to render aid.


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intermitintermittent claudication