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desultory

[des-uh l-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈdɛs əlˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
adjective
1.
lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful:
desultory conversation.
2.
digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random:
a desultory remark.
Origin
1575-1585
1575-85; < Latin dēsultōrius pertaining to a dēsultor (a circus rider who jumps from one horse to another), equivalent to dēsul-, variant stem of dēsilīre to jump down (dē- de- + -silīre, combining form of salīre to leap) + -tōrius -tory1
Related forms
desultorily, adverb
desultoriness, noun
Synonyms
1. See haphazard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for desultorily

desultory

/ˈdɛsəltərɪ; -trɪ/
adjective
1.
passing or jumping from one thing to another, esp in a fitful way; unmethodical; disconnected
2.
occurring in a random or incidental way; haphazard: a desultory thought
Derived Forms
desultorily, adverb
desultoriness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dēsultōrius, relating to one who vaults or jumps, hence superficial, from dēsilīre to jump down, from de- + salīre to jump
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for desultorily

desultory

adj.

1580s, "skipping about," from Latin desultorius "hasty, casual, superficial," adjective form of desultor (n.) "a rider in the circus who jumps from one horse to another while they are in gallop," from desul-, stem of desilire "jump down," from de- "down" (see de-) + salire "to jump, leap" (see salient (adj.)). Sense of "irregular, without aim or method" is c.1740. Related: Desultorily; desultoriness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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