piecemeal

[pees-meel]
adverb
1.
piece by piece; one piece at a time; gradually: to work piecemeal.
2.
into pieces or fragments: to tear a letter piecemeal.
adjective
3.
done piecemeal.

Origin:
1250–1300; Middle English pecemele; replacing Old English styccemǣlum. See piece, -meal

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World English Dictionary
piecemeal (ˈpiːsˌmiːl)
 
adv
1.  by degrees; bit by bit; gradually
2.  in or into pieces or piece from piece: to tear something piecemeal
 
adj
3.  fragmentary or unsystematic: a piecemeal approach
 
[C13 pecemele, from piece + -mele, from Old English mælum quantity taken at one time]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

piecemeal
c.1300, from piece + O.E. mælum "at a time," dative plural of mæl "appointed time, food served" (see meal (1)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
In practice, though, perhaps all that can be done is to tackle the problems
  piecemeal.
Currently our system of ocean governance is piecemeal.
Yet the overall impression was one of dingy neglect and piecemeal repair.
What stands out about the awards is their piecemeal nature.
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