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1. Moving or jumping from one thing to another; disconnected: "She had suddenly begun speaking, after sitting silently through several hours of desultory discussion ... about the Resistance" (Adam Nossiter).
2. Occurring randomly or sporadically. See Synonyms at chance.
[Latin dēsultōrius, leaping, from dēsultor, a leaper, from dēsultus, past participle of dēsilīre, to leap down : dē-, de- + salīre, to jump; see sel- in Indo-European roots.]