AskDefine | Define intermittent

Dictionary Definition

intermittent adj
1 stopping and starting at irregular intervals; "intermittent rain showers"
2 stopping and starting at regular intervals

User Contributed Dictionary



From intermittens, from prefix inter-, plus present participle mittens, from mittere.


  • a UK /ˌɪntɜː(ɹ)ˈmɪtn̩t/, 1=/%Int3:(r)"mItn=t/
  • a US /ˌɪntɚˈmɪtn̩t/, 1=/%Int@`"mItn=t/


  1. Stopping and starting at intervals; coming after a particular time span; not steady or constant
    The day was cloudy with intermittent rain.
    Intermittent bugs are most difficult to reproduce.

Derived terms


stopping and starting at intervals



  1. Intermittent.

Extensive Definition

In dynamical systems, intermittency is the alternation of phases of apparently periodic and chaotic dynamics.
Consider a dynamical system. Let x be the observed variable. If x plotted as a function of time exhibits segments of relative constant values (laminar phase) interspersed by erratic bursts, the system dynamics is intermittent.
In the apparently periodic phases the behaviour is not quite, but only nearly periodic. Thus, rather than a (truly periodic) series of values such as 2, 4, 2, 4, ... one might have something like 2.0001, 4.0003, 2.0002, 4.0001, 2.0003, 3.9999, 1.8715, 6.7486, ... where the first six values are apparently periodic but where the actually chaotic nature of the system becomes apparent after the value 3.9999 is reached.
Intermittency factor is the fraction of time that motion is turbulent, denoted \mu.

See also

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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