- Irregular; unsteady; characterized by fits.
- His breathing was fitful.
- 1605, Shakespeare, Macbeth, act III
- […] Duncan is in his grave;
- After life's fitful fever he sleeps well;
- 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 123
- The cabin lamp—taking long swings this way and that— was burning fitfully, and casting fitful shadows upon the old man’s bolted door [...]
- 2012, The Economist, [http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21565270-britain-emerges-its-second-recession-four-years-don’t-say-“green-shoots” The economy: Don’t say “green shoots”]
- So fitful has Britain’s economy been that any good news is understandably snatched at.