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[in-ter-mit-nt] /ˌɪn tərˈmɪt nt/
stopping or ceasing for a time; alternately ceasing and beginning again:
an intermittent pain.
alternately functioning and not functioning or alternately functioning properly and improperly.
(of streams, lakes, or springs) recurrent; showing water only part of the time.
Origin of intermittent
1595-1605; < Latin intermittent- (stem of intermittēns) present participle of intermittere to intermit; see -ent
Related forms
intermittence, intermittency, noun
intermittently, adverb
nonintermittence, noun
nonintermittent, adjective
nonintermittently, adverb
nonintermittentness, noun
unintermittent, adjective
unintermittently, adverb
Can be confused
continual, continuous, intermittent (see usage note at continual)
1. interrupted, sporadic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for intermittently
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It has been my habit to think so, but intermittently, by fits and starts.

    Amiel's Journal Henri-Frdric Amiel
  • Shadow vanished and reappeared, intermittently, like a flashing light.

    Rebels of the Red Planet Charles Louis Fontenay
  • Shakespeare bought it in 1597, and in it he passed, intermittently, a considerable part of the last nineteen years of his life.

    Shakespeare's England William Winter
  • Mankind has struggled with it intermittently since civilization began.

    Little Lost Sister Virginia Brooks
  • Thirty years ago politics were only intermittently concerned with social problems.

British Dictionary definitions for intermittently


occurring occasionally or at regular or irregular intervals; periodic
Derived Forms
intermittence, intermittency, noun
intermittently, adverb
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 intermittently



c.1600, from Latin intermittentem (nominative intermittens), present participle of intermittere (see intermission). Related: Intermittently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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intermittently in Medicine

intermittent in·ter·mit·tent (ĭn'tər-mĭt'nt)

  1. Stopping and starting at intervals.

  2. Marked by intervals of complete quietude occurring between two periods of activity.

in'ter·mit'tence n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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