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by fits and starts


  • WordNet 3.6
    • adv by fits and starts intermittently "he worked on his book by fits and starts"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • By fits and starts by intervals of action and repose; impulsively and irregularly; intermittently.
    • ***


In literature:

It was by an ideal fitness of things that Armstrong attracted, inspired and started as his worthy successor one of the negro race.
"The Negro and the Nation" by George S. Merriam
Two more weeks passed and de Peyster's conduct in regard to Henry was regulated again by fits and starts.
"The Border Watch" by Joseph A. Altsheler
I loved Fel dearly, I know I did; but by fits and starts I was so full of envy that I had to go off by myself and pout.
"Aunt Madge's Story" by Sophie May
Barbara Morgan had not been able to sleep except by fits and starts.
"'Drag' Harlan" by Charles Alden Seltzer
For a long time she zigzagged about, going by provoking fits and starts.
"Birds of the Rockies" by Leander Sylvester Keyser
He himself took his sleep by fits and starts two or three hours at a time, and except when cooking, paddled away assiduously.
"Condemned as a Nihilist" by George Alfred Henty
The disposition to do so, however, only came by fits and starts.
"The Hero of Garside School" by J. Harwood Panting
I did not sleep, or when I did by fits and starts, I woke frightened and crying.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 122, December, 1867" by Various
The pursuers crept up and fell back by fits and starts; slowly the distance widened.
"Peter the Brazen" by George F. Worts
The food came on slowly, by fits and starts, and the dishes were all so cold and queer of taste that even Frank complained.
"A Son of the Middle Border" by Hamlin Garland
And she only talked with the girls by fits and starts.
"Ruth Fielding at Briarwood Hall" by Alice B. Emerson
It seemed to come by fits and starts, but steadily increased in volume.
"Dave Porter At Bear Camp" by Edward Stratemeyer
The long column, with the trophies of captured guns and machines of war, could only press forward by fits and starts.
"Westward with the Prince of Wales" by W. Douglas Newton
He was dozing, restless, waking and sleeping by fits and starts.
"Gold" by Stewart White
He worked only by fits and starts.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, June 9, 1920" by Various
Only by fits and starts was the shack enlivened by her happy chatter.
"The Plow-Woman" by Eleanor Gates
Marx was a sound mathematician but the sciences we only knew in part, by fits and starts, sporadically.
"Landmarks of Scientific Socialism" by Friedrich Engels
As for being overworked, that comes by fits and starts.
"In the Whirl of the Rising" by Bertram Mitford
As a romancer he worked more by fits and starts.
"A Short History of French Literature" by George Saintsbury
Yet it was very dear to her, too, by fits and starts.
"Norine's Revenge; Sir Noel's Heir" by May Agnes Fleming

In poetry:

A sobbing spirit wanders where
By fits and starts the wild-fire shines;
Like one who walks in deep despair,
With Death amongst the pines.
"In Memoriam~ -- Alice Fane Gunn Stenhouse" by Henry Kendall
And when by sudden fits and starts
The sunset on the moss doth burn,
He often dreams, and, lo! the marts
And streets are changed to dells of fern.
"Moss on a Wall" by Henry Kendall
By hearse-like yews and grey-haired moss,
Where wails the wind in starts and fits,
Twice bowed and broken down with loss,
The wife, the mother sits.
"In Memoriam~ -- Alice Fane Gunn Stenhouse" by Henry Kendall

In news:

Start by designing the screen to the dimensions you actually require, then apply multiple high-brightness projectors and precision-calculated blending to fit the video to the display.
"We'll start with this" are, fittingly, the first words spoken by German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer, nearly 30 minutes into Sophie Fiennes's immersive look at his artistic process.
With so many folks hitting the treadmills and elliptical machines this week, energized by New Year's resolutions, it seems only fitting to start 2011 with a dieting tale of Olympic proportions.
The Mets always look stunning in April and start crumbling by September, so fans say it's only fitting their new stadium is imploding on cue.
Starting with a surprisingly accurate measurement of the size of the Earth by ancient Greeks, Dr Stanek will discuss how we gradually came to appreciate the vast size of the Universe, and where our Solar System fits in the cosmic history.
In this picture at the start of Pet Fit Club sponsored by PDSA, Fifi is 20.5 lbs and 107 percent over what she should weigh.
She was joined by fit children who spoke about why it is important for children and families to start early and get active.

In science:

So the modern approach to interpreting these data in Miller ’s theoretical context would be to start with Miller’ s model of absolute motion as applied to his instrument, and test the class of theories “The earth is moving wi th absolute speed X in direction Y” where X and Y are deter mined by fitting to the data.
An Explanation of Dayton Miller's Anomalous "Ether Drift" Result