Etymology
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fitful (adj.)

used once by Shakespeare ("Life's fitful fever," "Macbeth," 1605) in sense of "characterized by fits," from fit (n.2) + -ful. then Revived in Romantic poetry late 18c. with a sense of "shifting, changing." Related: Fitfully (1792); fitfulness.

updated on November 12, 2014

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Definitions of fitful from WordNet

fitful (adj.)
intermittently stopping and starting;
fitful (or interrupted) sleep
Synonyms: interrupted / off-and-on
fitful (adj.)
occurring in spells and often abruptly;
fitful bursts of energy
Synonyms: spasmodic
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.