General English


  • meteor not associated with a meteor shower. Many sporadics are thought to be members of showers which have decayed away, but others may be genuinely unassociated with meteoroid streams or may be members of weak, unidentified showers.


  • adjective referring to outbreaks of disease that occur as separate cases, not in epidemics

Origin & History of “sporadic”

Sporadic means etymologically ‘scattered like seed’. It comes via medieval Latin sporadicus from Greek sporadikós, a derivative of the adjective sporás ‘scattered’. this was formed from the same base as produced sporá ‘act of sowing, seed’, ancestor of English diaspora (19th c.) (etymologically ‘dispersal’) and spore (19th c.). And both were related to speírein ‘sow’, source of English sperm.