fits and starts

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - fits and starts

"fits and starts"

in short bursts of motion or effort


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - fits and starts

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Do you think this project will ever get off the ground?

Colleague 2:  Well, we started work on it over a year ago. Everyone was excited about it for about a month and then other situations developed and the project was set aside for a couple of months.

Colleague 1:  Then the boss decided that the project was worth pursuing again and we worked on it for another month or so but we haven't worked on it since then.

Colleague 2:  I guess we have been working on the project in fits and starts but I believe that eventually it will happen.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - fits and starts

A couple are talking on their mobile phones ...

Wife:  Where are you? Dinner is getting cold.

Husband:  Traffic is a nightmare. There must be an accident up ahead somewhere. Traffic has been moving in fits and starts for the last three kilometers. First traffic moves ahead maybe ten car-lengths and then it just stops and then it moves ahead again and then stops.

Wife:  That must be frustrating. I'll but our dinner in the oven to keep it warm and see you when I see you.

fits and starts - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   397   click for frequency by country

fits and starts - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for fits and starts.

fits and starts - Examples:

1)  The affair proceeds in fits and starts, clumsy beginnings and, indeed, endings; ...

2)  ... did come late to publishing, but he's been working on these stories in fits and starts since the 1980s.

3)  ... there are no rules that determine how to proceed. The process typically proceeds in fits and starts, with many wrong turns and dead ends. This process continues until ...

4)  ... but the truth is more mundane - fits and starts are the usual rhythms, with flashes of insight wasted by years of ...

5)  And all this means the marijuana industry will move in cautious fits and starts, a legal, regulated, taxed business in some states, and ...

6)  ... determined, through analyzing Nook data, that nonfiction books tend to be read in fits and starts, while novels are generally read straight through, ...

7)  ... showed up only on the bones of cold-blooded animals, since these animals grow in fits and starts

8)  Renewable energy has had similar fits and starts, plagued by the costs and complexities of developing technology, and markets ...

9)  It may take time, and it may move in fits and starts, but it is going to happen, ...

10)  ... and there's no doubt that it's an area where progress comes in fits and starts, and gains are often followed by losses.

11)  The stock market moves in fits and starts but doesn't seem to inspire the confidence needed to boost what once ...

12)  ... have put together over the past couple years working extremely part time in fits and starts as my busy life's time permitted.

13)  ... result from systematic, methodical planning. Rather, they evolve over time, in fits and starts, shaped more by politics than by policies. The haphazard nature of ...

14)  It may come in fits and starts, at a pace that can be slow and frustrating, ...

15)  The bank usually moves in fits and starts rather than in sync with bigger financial stocks.

16)  ... the real world progress never moves in a straight line, it always goes by fits and starts.

17)  I have been listening to this book in fits and starts for months now.

18)  I'm a birth mother who found her son, and after many fits and starts we are now developing a relationship.

19)  The different elements of the story don't blend, but come in fits and starts and sometimes don't ring true. 

20)  The reality of science is that it evolves in fits and starts as anomalies are explained, new and more complete ideas emerge, gain ...