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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.
Also, sporadical.
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 sporadically
  • So far, the omens remain poor, though informal contacts are said to have been sporadically opened.
  • Redwood cones, oddly enough, are tiny-the size of an olive-and may produce seeds only sporadically.
  • The skin pulsed red and sporadically flickered, gradually fading to pallid white as brain activity withered.
  • Blooms are produced mainly from spring to fall, sporadically rest of year.
  • Tensions between the two groups sporadically flare up in the cramped slum.
  • Blooms are produced mainly from spring to fall, sporadically rest of year add to my plant list.
  • In his past life, he was an alcoholic, sporadically homeless and an amateur artist.
  • The fact is that she is impressive, but sporadically.
  • Around two billion people have no access to modern energy, and a billion have it only sporadically.
  • Coming out sporadically for almost a decade, it had a dry and scholarly look.
British Dictionary definitions for sporadically


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 sporadically



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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sporadically 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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