Desultory Definition

dĕsəl-tôrē, dĕz-
Passing from one thing to another in an aimless way; disconnected; not methodical.
A desultory conversation.
Webster's New World
Occurring randomly or sporadically.
American Heritage
Lacking direct relevance; random; incidental.
A desultory observation.
Webster's New World

Out of course; by the way; as a digression; not connected with the subject.

I made a desultory remark while I was talking to my friend.
She made a desultory attempt at conversation.

Disappointing in performance or progress.


Origin of Desultory

  • Latin dēsultōrius leaping from dēsultor a leaper from dēsultus past participle of dēsilīre to leap down dē- de- salīre to jump sel- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin desultorius (“hasty, casual, superficial”), from desultor (“a circus rider who jumped from one galloping horse to another”), from dēsiliō (“jump down”), from (“down”) + saliō (“jump, leap”)

    From Wiktionary

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