From Middle French intermittent, from Latin intermittens (“sending between”), from prefix inter- (“among, on”) + mittens (“sending”), from mittere (“to send”).
intermittent (comparative more intermittent, superlative most intermittent)
- Stopping and starting, occurring, or presenting at intervals; coming after a particular time span.
- Synonyms: periodic, periodical, patchy, spasmodic; see also Thesaurus:discontinuous
- Antonyms: steady, constant, continual
- The day was cloudy with intermittent rain.
- Intermittent bugs are most difficult to reproduce.
- 1564, Philip Moore, chapter 13, in The Hope of Health, London:
- Also bloudletting is good in feuers, whether they be continual or intermittent […]
- 1698, Robert South, Twelve Sermons upon Several Subjects and Occasions, volume 3, London: Thomas Bennet, page 511:
- […] the Gift of Prophecy […] was in the mind not as an Inhabitant, but as a Guest; that is, by intermittent Returns and Ecstasies, by Occasional Raptures and Revelations; as is clear from what we read of the Prophets in the Old Testament.
- 1792, Richard Cumberland, Calvary: or The Death of Christ, London: C. Dilly, Book 5, lines 364-366, p. 164,
- […] Pale through night’s curtain gleam’d
- By fits the lunar intermittent ray,
- That quiv’ring serv’d to light his lonely steps
- 1926, Hope Mirrlees, chapter 20, in Lud-in-the-Mist, London, published 2000, page 193:
- […] by degrees the talk became as flickering and intermittent as the light of the dying fire, which they were too idle to feed with sticks […]
- 2015, John Irving, chapter 18, in Avenue of Mysteries, New York: Simon and Schuster, page 238:
- […] three scruffy-looking young men with intermittent facial hair and starvation-symptom physiques.
- (specifically, geology, of a body of water) Existing only for certain seasons; that is, being dry for part of the year.
- The area has many intermittent lakes and streams.
stopping and starting at intervals
intermittent (plural intermittents)
- (medicine, dated) An intermittent fever or disease.
- 1592, Nicholas Gyer, chapter 16, in The English Phlebotomy: or, Method and Way of Healing by Letting of Blood, London: Andrew Mansell, page 172:
- Feuers, and especially those that are called intermittents, discontinuing agues, euen naturally at the beginning and their first inuasion, cause vomits: and at the declining, sweats.
- 1733, John Arbuthnot, chapter 6, in An Essay concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies, London: J. Tonson, page 144:
- The Bark, which had been ineffectual in the Intermittents of the former Year, was successful in this.
- 1832, Robley Dunglison, “Circulation”, in Human Physiology, volume 2, Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, page 146:
- In disease, the agency of this system of vessels is an object of attentive study with the pathologist. To its influence in inflammation, we have already alluded; but it is no less exemplified in the more general diseases of the frame, as in the cold, hot, and sweating stages of an intermittent.
From Latin intermittentem.
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intermittent (feminine intermittente, masculine plural intermittents, feminine plural intermittentes)
- “intermittent”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.