Definition of sporadic in US English:



  • Occurring at irregular intervals or only in a few places; scattered or isolated.

    ‘sporadic fighting broke out’
    • ‘The situation is easing, although sporadic fresh outbreaks are still occurring.’
    • ‘It is unfortunate that this movie could not have been produced entirely in Spanish, with asides in English for the sporadic encounters where they are warranted.’
    • ‘It all adds up to a very uneven, sporadic film experience.’
    • ‘The mood is buoyant, the banter is sporadic and the outcome is patchy, if not mostly enjoyable.’
    • ‘She occasionally breaks out a trumpet for some sporadic, appropriate bursts.’
    • ‘Until then, her art had been experimental, uneven, sporadic.’
    • ‘These warlords continue to exercise their authority by means of force and firepower, and often engage in sporadic armed conflict against one another.’
    • ‘Told through sporadic flashbacks, we initially side with Matthew and his enduring passion for Lisa, but as the film progresses, the audience is more inclined to sympathize with the vilified Alex.’
    • ‘On the way to Vegas, we get a fair amount of lame character development, unconvincing drama, and sporadic comedy that's low on the laugh meter.’
    • ‘While the author treats agency in a more sustained way than colonialism throughout all sections of the book, the attempt to align his overall analysis with traditional feminist concerns is sporadic.’
    • ‘When Haleem returns from the Navy at age twenty-one in 1959, his life consists of sporadic interactions with the family and attending college courses with little interest.’
    • ‘Later, our contact became more sporadic but we still had occasion to work together every once in a while.’
    • ‘Capt. Conroy said his forces took sporadic fire for four more days, until Tuesday, April 15, when they withdrew to refuel.’
    • ‘‘Contamination appears not to be sporadic, but rather pervasive across the seed supplies for these crops,’ Mellon said.’
    • ‘In any case, the few flaws in the video are minimal and sporadic, and unlikely to detract from your enjoyment of this otherwise excellent package.’
    • ‘However, media coverage was sporadic at best, in large measure because West Coast critics and arts editors tended to cover contemporary works.’
    • ‘Dunstan had a reputation for sporadic disappearances.’
    • ‘This neighborhood is plagued by constant deterioration because of absentee landlords, lack of income to repair homes, few employment opportunities, crime, sporadic city services, and so on.’
    • ‘With more hectic lifestyles, meal times are more sporadic and less formal, and consumers have developed the habit of grazing or snacking on foods throughout the day.’
    • ‘The second track is even more severe, beginning with soft and sporadic shards of computer noise, at a level too low to be heard without turning the volume way up.’
    occasional, infrequent, irregular, periodical, periodic, scattered, patchy, isolated, odd, uneven
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Late 17th century: via medieval Latin from Greek sporadikos, from sporas, sporad- ‘scattered’; related to speirein ‘to sow’.