fits and starts


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Noun1.fits and starts - repeated bursts of activity; "they worked in fits and starts"
burst, fit - a sudden flurry of activity (often for no obvious reason); "a burst of applause"; "a fit of housecleaning"
References in classic literature ?
If you entertain the supposition that any real success, in great things or in small, ever was or could be, ever will or can be, wrested from Fortune by fits and starts, leave that wrong idea here or leave your cousin Ada here.
The snow in places was up to his knees, and the sledge moved by fits and starts with his every movement.
A fitful wind swept the cheerless waste, and the ship, hauled up so close as to check her way, seemed to progress by languid fits and starts against the short seas which swept along her sides with a snarling sound.