adjective Date: 1592 1. obsolete characterized by fits or paroxysms 2. having an erratic or intermittent character ; irregularfitfully adverbfitfulness noun Synonyms: fitful, spasmodic, convulsive mean lacking steadiness or regularity in movement. fitful implies intermittence, a succession of starts and stops or risings and fallings <
fitful sleep
. spasmodic adds to fitful the implication of rapid or violent activity alternating with inactivity <
spasmodic growth
. convulsive suggests the breaking of regularity or quiet by uncontrolled movement <
convulsive shocks

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • fitful — fitful, spasmodic, convulsive are comparable when they mean lacking steadiness or regularity in course, movement, or succession (as of acts or efforts). Fitful stresses variability and intermittency; it implies an irregular succession… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Fitful — Fit ful, a. [From 7th {Fit}.] Full of fits; irregularly variable; impulsive and unstable. [1913 Webster] After life s fitful fever, he sleeps well. Shak. {Fit ful*ly}, adv. {Fit ful*ness}, n. [1913 Webster] The victorious trumpet peal Dies… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fitful — index broken (interrupted), disjunctive (tending to disjoin), disorderly, haphazard, inconsistent, intermittent, sporadic …   Law dictionary

  • fitful — used once by Shakespeare ( Macbeth, 1605) in sense of characterized by fits, then revived by Scott (1810) with a sense of shifting, changing. From FIT (Cf. fit) (n.2) + FUL (Cf. ful). Related: Fitfully; fitfulness …   Etymology dictionary

  • fitful — [adj] irregular, sporadic bits and pieces*, broken, capricious, catchy*, changeable, desultory, disturbed, erratic, flickering, fluctuating, haphazard, herky jerky*, hit or miss*, impulsive, inconstant, intermittent, interrupted, onagain off… …   New thesaurus

  • fitful — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ active or occurring intermittently; not regular or steady. DERIVATIVES fitfully adverb fitfulness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • fitful — [fit′fəl] adj. [ FIT2 + FUL] characterized by irregular or intermittent activity, impulses, etc.; spasmodic; restless fitfully adv. fitfulness n …   English World dictionary

  • fitful — [[t]fɪ̱tfʊl[/t]] ADJ Something that is fitful happens for irregular periods of time or occurs at irregular times, rather than being continuous. Colin drifted off into a fitful sleep... The government is making slow and fitful progress in these… …   English dictionary

  • fitful — fit|ful [ˈfıtfəl] adj not regular, and starting and stopping often ▪ John awoke from a fitful sleep . ▪ The peace talks only seem to be making fitful progress. >fitfully adv ▪ She slept fitfully …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • fitful — adjective Irregular; unsteady; characterized by fits. His breathing was fitful …   Wiktionary

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