fits and starts

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

fits and starts pl ‎(plural only)

  1. (idiomatic) Activity which is intermittent, variable in intensity, and prolonged by interruptions.
    Progress in this project has come in fits and starts.
    • 1681, John Dryden, "Epilogue for ‘The King's House’," lines 1-2,
      We act by fits and starts, like drowning men,
      But just peep up, and then pop down again.
    • 1841, Charles Dickens, Master Humphrey's Clock, ch. 2,
      I spent the night in fits and starts, getting up and lying down full twenty times, and dreaming the same dream over and over again.
    • 1955, "Old Play in Manhattan," Time, 26 Dec.,
      It is a stammered, sleazy chronicle, told by fits and starts in bits and pieces, and constantly interrupted by the director and actors.
    • 2007, "Australian Premier vows troops pullout," Gulf Daily News (Bahrain), 22 Dec.,
      Paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in fits and starts undermines US military planning and risks the gains made by US troops.

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