Definition of in (or by) fits and starts in English:

in (or by) fits and starts

phrase

  • With irregular bursts of activity.

    ‘the economy was recovering in fits and starts’
    • ‘I've started adding mine, but it'll be done in fits and starts…’
    • ‘We played in fits and starts and never really clicked and opened up, but we're happy with the points.’
    • ‘Like my wife's slimming programme, this year's harvest is going in fits and starts, punctuated by incredibly hot days of activity and frustrating rest periods.’
    • ‘The improvement came slowly, sporadically, in fits and starts.’
    • ‘The poetry is moving forward in fits and starts.’
    • ‘However, like in any sport, those who play well throughout the whole contest - not just in fits and starts - more often than not end up victorious.’
    • ‘All too often, science progresses in fits and starts, re-examining data, reinterpreting evidence - a path that can be hard to accept in medicine, when answers are needed now.’
    • ‘Progress has come in fits and starts and is still fragile.’
    • ‘The Roman occupation of Britain advanced in fits and starts with the occasional disaster - the bloody revolt of Queen Boadicea in 61 AD is the best known example.’
    • ‘It was built in 1961, and it's been renovated in fits and starts, so it's sort of an architectural Frankenstein.’
    spasmodically, intermittently, sporadically, erratically, irregularly, interruptedly, fitfully, haphazardly, on and off, off and on, now and then, now and again
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