Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.
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 the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
1. passing or jumping from one thing to another, esp in a fitful way; unmethodical; disconnected
2. occurring in a random or incidental way; haphazard: a desultory thought.
[C16: from Latin dēsultōrius, relating to one who vaults or jumps, hence superficial, from dēsilīre to jump down, from de- + salīre to jump]
des•ul•to•ry(ˈdɛs əlˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i)
1. lacking in consistency, method, purpose, or visible order; disconnected: desultory conversation.
2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject: a desultory remark.
[1575–85; < Latin dēsultōrius pertaining to a dēsultor (a circus rider who jumps from one horse to another), derivative of dēsul-, variant s. of dēsilīre to jump down]
Switch to new thesaurus
|Adj.||1.||desultory - marked by lack of definite plan or regularity or purpose; jumping from one thing to another; "desultory thoughts"; "the desultory conversation characteristic of cocktail parties"|
purposeless - not evidencing any purpose or goal