fitful


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 characterized by fits and starts
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after life's fitful fever he sleeps well— Shak.

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the fitful gloom and sudden lambencies of the room by firelight— De Quincey

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a fitful[/i], undecided rain— Kipling

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a. fitful wind swept the cheerless waste— Conrad

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hitherto I've been gloomy, moody, fitfulGilbert

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Spasmodic implies fitfulness, but it further suggests marked alternations (as of violent activity and inactivity or of great effort and of negligible effort or of zeal or enthusiasm and lack of interest); it therefore implies, even more than fitful, an opposition to what is sustained at a high pitch
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spasmodic efforts to reform municipal government

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spasmodic energy

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a continuous discussion of international affairs, not spasmodic action at times of crisis— A ttlee

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a spasmodic movement of despair— S. S. Van Dine

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spasmodic industry

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Convulsive differs from the preceding terms in not implying intermittency and in stressing unsteadiness, strain or overstrain, and the lack of such regular rhythm as is the sign of control and especially of muscular, mental, or spiritual control
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convulsive rise and fall of the breast

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the convulsive movement of the earth characteristic of an earth- quake

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he had a convulsive drive, a boundless and explosive fervor— Behrman

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a convulsive little hug— Turnbull

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Analogous words: *intermittent, periodic, recurrent: desultory, hit-or- miss, *random, haphazard
Antonyms: constant (sense 3)
Contrasted words: *steady, uniform, even, equable: regular, methodical, systematic, *orderly

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 — adjective Date: 1592 1. obsolete characterized by fits or paroxysms 2. having an erratic or intermittent character ; irregular • fitfully adverb • fitfulness noun Synonyms: fitful, spasmodic …   New Collegiate 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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