[ spuh-rad-ik ]
/ spəˈræd ɪk /


(of similar things or occurrences) appearing or happening at irregular intervals in time; occasional: sporadic renewals of enthusiasm.
appearing in scattered or isolated instances, as a disease.
isolated, as a single instance of something; being or occurring apart from others.
occurring singly or widely apart in locality: the sporadic growth of plants.

Nearby words

  1. spoonworm,
  2. spoony,
  3. spoor,
  4. spor-,
  5. sporades,
  6. sporangiophore,
  7. sporangiospore,
  8. sporangium,
  9. spore,
  10. spore case

Sometimes spo·rad·i·cal.

Origin of sporadic

1680–90; < Medieval Latin sporadicus < Greek sporadikós, equivalent to sporad- (stem of sporás strewn, akin to sporá spore) + -ikos -ic

Related formsspo·rad·i·cal·ly, adverbspo·rad·i·cal·ness, nounspo·ra·dic·i·ty [spawr-uh-dis-i-tee, spohr-] /ˌspɔr əˈdɪs ɪ ti, ˌspoʊr-/, spo·ra·dism, noun

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

Examples from the Web for sporadically

British Dictionary definitions for sporadically


/ (spəˈrædɪk) /


occurring at irregular points in time; intermittentsporadic firing
scattered; isolateda sporadic disease
Derived Formssporadically, adverbsporadicalness, noun

Word Origin for sporadic

C17: from Medieval Latin sporadicus, from Greek sporadikos, from sporas scattered; related to Greek speirein to sow; see spore

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 sporadically



1650s (implied in sporadical), from Medieval Latin sporadicus "scattered," from Greek sporadikos "scattered," from sporas (genitive sporados) "scattered," from spora "a sowing" (see spore). Originally a medical term, "occurring in scattered instances;" the meaning "happening at intervals" is first recorded 1847. Related: Sporadically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for sporadically


[ spə-rădĭk, spô- ]


Occurring at irregular intervals.
Occurring singly; not grouped.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.