fit·​ful | \ ˈfit-fəl How to pronounce fitful (audio) \

Definition of fitful

1 obsolete : characterized by fits or paroxysms
2 : having an erratic or intermittent character : irregular

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Other Words from fitful

fitfully \ ˈfit-​fə-​lē How to pronounce fitfully (audio) \ adverb
fitfulness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fitful

fitful, spasmodic, convulsive mean lacking steadiness or regularity in movement. fitful implies intermittence, a succession of starts and stops or risings and fallings. fitful sleep spasmodic adds to fitful the implication of rapid or violent activity alternating with inactivity. spasmodic growth convulsive suggests the breaking of regularity or quiet by uncontrolled movement. convulsive shocks

Examples of fitful in a Sentence

He had a few fitful hours of sleep. Several fitful attempts at negotiation have failed.
Recent Examples on the Web With eight different color options, this is a great gift for fitful sleepers. Alicia Kortendick, al, "Unique Gifts for Valentine’s Day for him, her and the kids," 8 Feb. 2020 But progress was fitful and, experts said, incomplete. Pete Gelling, Quartz, "The US just failed its first 2020 presidential election test," 4 Feb. 2020 That said, the show's manic satirical tone yields uneven returns, and the premise takes somewhat fitful advantage of its futuristic setting. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Avenue 5' takes viewers on a satirical flight aboard a space-faring cruise ship," 17 Jan. 2020 The nightmare that never ends continued in its most fitful, frightful fashion yet Wednesday at the October house of horrors known as Dodger Stadium surrounded by the postseason demons that have inhabited Clayton Kershaw and Dave Roberts. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Dodgers’ collapse against Nationals extends their October nightmare," 10 Oct. 2019 While most countries wrap up elections in a matter of weeks, US campaigns mean hundreds of rallies, endless TV interviews, late night flights, bad food and fitful sleeps in scrubby hotels. Stephen Collinson And Caitlin Hu, CNN, "Four ways to think about Trump's Syria decision -- Meanwhile in America," 10 Oct. 2019 Biden's extensive involvement in the country's fitful march toward reform has highlighted the political risks of becoming so deeply enmeshed in another country's murky domestic affairs. Author: Matt Viser, Paul Sonne, Anchorage Daily News, "Inside Biden’s brawling efforts to reform Ukraine," 20 Oct. 2019 All this has been accomplished because the political leaders of India sought and adopted a better economic system — free enterprise — after some four decades of fitful progress and unequal prosperity under socialism. Lee Edwards, National Review, "Three Nations That Tried Socialism and Rejected It," 14 Oct. 2019 Does a character need to have fitful visions of the future after a snakebite? Abhrajyoti Chakraborty, The New Republic, "The Disaster Novelist," 8 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fitful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fitful

1592, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fitful

Time Traveler

The first known use of fitful was in 1592

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Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fitful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for fitful


How to pronounce fitful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fitful

: not regular or steady


fit·​ful | \ ˈfit-fəl How to pronounce fitful (audio) \

Kids Definition of fitful

: not regular or steady fitful sleep

Other Words from fitful

fitfully adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on fitful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fitful

Spanish Central: Translation of fitful

Nglish: Translation of fitful for Spanish Speakers

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