fitful

[fit-fuhl]
adjective
coming, appearing, acting, etc., in fits or by spells; recurring irregularly.

Origin:
1595–1605; fit2 + -ful

fitfully, adverb
fitfulness, noun


sporadic, intermittent, erratic, haphazard.
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World English Dictionary
fitful (ˈfɪtfʊl)
 
adj
characterized by or occurring in irregular spells: fitful sleep
 
'fitfully
 
adv
 
'fitfulness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

fitful
used once by Shakespeare ("Macbeth" iii.2) in sense of "characterized by fits," then revived by Scott (1810) with a sense of "shifting, changing." From fit (n.2) + -ful. Related: Fitfully.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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