9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[fit-fuh l] /ˈfɪt fəl/
coming, appearing, acting, etc., in fits or by spells; recurring irregularly.
Origin of fitful
1595-1605; fit2 + -ful
Related forms
fitfully, adverb
fitfulness, noun
sporadic, intermittent, erratic, haphazard. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fitfully
  • Yet such safeguards and checks are only fitfully applied.
  • In the open ocean bioluminescent organisms fitfully brighten the watery depths with their otherworldly sparkle and glow.
  • The field as a whole will fitfully establish a portfolio of different approaches, as it usually does.
  • The stakes are high, and progress is coming fitfully.
  • The democracy bug is fitfully catching on commented.
  • Electricity comes fitfully: a huge headache for factories that need to operate around the clock to turn a profit.
  • As the government struggles to hold its own employees to account, attempts to prosecute private firms are proceeding fitfully.
  • Things are getting better slowly and fitfully, hardly surprising given the imbalances and excesses of the boom years.
  • Any sentient viewer will be able to predict every lumpy twist of this ludicrous, fitfully enjoyable movie.
  • The downside is that its supply increases fitfully, with no regard for the state of the world economy.
British Dictionary definitions for fitfully


characterized by or occurring in irregular spells: fitful sleep
Derived Forms
fitfully, adverb
fitfulness, noun
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
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Word Origin and History for fitfully



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 (n.2) + -ful. Related: Fitfully; fitfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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