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[spuh-rad-ik] /spəˈræd ɪk/
(of similar things or occurrences) appearing or happening at irregular intervals in time; occasional:
sporadic renewals of enthusiasm.
appearing in scattered or isolated instances, as a disease.
isolated, as a single instance of something; being or occurring apart from others.
occurring singly or widely apart in locality:
the sporadic growth of plants.
Origin of sporadic
1680-90; < Medieval Latin sporadicus < Greek sporadikós, equivalent to sporad- (stem of sporás strewn, akin to sporá spore) + -ikos -ic
Related forms
sporadically, adverb
sporadicalness, noun
[spawr-uh-dis-i-tee, spohr-] /ˌspɔr əˈdɪs ɪ ti, ˌspoʊr-/ (Show IPA),
sporadism, noun
3. separate, unconnected.
1. continuous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sporadic
  • There is no bridge to the island and riverboat access is seasonal and sporadic.
  • The pre-dawn ocean was violently churning and downpours of rain were sporadic.
  • Since then supporters loyal to both figures have been involved in sporadic, often violent, clashes.
  • Meanwhile research in the area of alcoholism which had been desultory, erratic and sporadic intensified.
  • Previous models had relied on spotty information about people's movements, collected in sporadic surveys.
  • The inherent volume of the pipelines smooths the sporadic output of the renewable energy sources.
  • After a hesitant start, combat troops contained sporadic rioting, including pitched battles between red shirts and residents.
  • The capital has no running water and electricity is sporadic, blacking the city out at night.
  • They do not cope well with a long series of defeats, interrupted by sporadic flashes of success.
  • Some of this public and political attention has been sporadic, but it is justified.
British Dictionary definitions for sporadic


occurring at irregular points in time; intermittent: sporadic firing
scattered; isolated: a sporadic disease
Derived Forms
sporadically, adverb
sporadicalness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin sporadicus, from Greek sporadikos, from sporas scattered; related to Greek speirein to sow; see spore
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 sporadic

1650s (implied in sporadical), from Medieval Latin sporadicus "scattered," from Greek sporadikos "scattered," from sporas (genitive sporados) "scattered," from spora "a sowing" (see spore). Originally a medical term, "occurring in scattered instances;" the meaning "happening at intervals" is first recorded 1847. Related: Sporadically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sporadic in Medicine

sporadic spo·rad·ic (spə-rād'ĭk, spô-) or spo·rad·i·cal (-ĭ-kəl)

  1. Occurring at irregular intervals.

  2. Occurring singly; not grouped.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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