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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce desultory (audio)

Dictionary definition of desultory

Something that is marked by a lack of consistency, direction or continuity.
"The desultory nature of the lecture made it difficult to stay engaged."

Detailed meaning of desultory

It can be used to describe a wide range of things, including conversation, behavior, or work. For example, a desultory conversation would be one that jumps from topic to topic without any clear direction or focus. Similarly, a desultory worker might be one who is easily distracted and tends to move from task to task without completing any of them.
Desultory can also be used to describe a piece of writing or a speech that lacks focus or structure, it can also be used to describe a journey or a process that lacks continuity or that is marked by frequent interruptions or changes of direction.
The term implies a lack of coherence, continuity, and purpose, and suggests that the thing described as desultory is disorganized, random, or not well thought out.

Example sentences containing desultory

1. Their conversation was desultory, jumping from topic to topic.
2. He made desultory attempts to clean the cluttered room.
3. The team's performance was marked by desultory efforts.
4. She took a desultory approach to her studies, resulting in poor grades.
5. The desultory rainfall did little to quench the drought.
6. His desultory job search yielded no promising leads.

History and etymology of desultory

The adjective 'desultory' finds its etymological origins in Latin. It is derived from the Latin word 'desultorius,' which is related to 'desultor,' meaning 'a circus rider who leaps from one horse to another.' This term is formed from 'de,' indicating a change in action, and 'saltare,' meaning 'to leap' or 'to jump.' In its original sense, 'desultorius' described the actions of a circus performer who exhibited an erratic, unconnected series of leaps from one horse to another. Over time, this term's meaning was metaphorically extended to describe anything marked by a lack of consistency, direction, or continuity, akin to the unpredictable and disjointed movements of a circus rider. Hence, when we use 'desultory' in English, we refer to something that lacks a clear and continuous path or purpose, often characterized by aimless or haphazard behavior or activity.

Quiz: Find the meaning of desultory

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Further usage examples of desultory

1. The novel's plot was criticized for its desultory structure.
2. The meeting was filled with desultory discussions and no clear decisions.
3. The company's financial reports revealed a desultory pattern.
4. Her desultory exercise routine lacked consistency.
5. The project suffered due to desultory management.
6. The desultory shopping spree left her with random purchases.
7. Their desultory efforts to fix the car only made things worse.
8. The student's desultory reading habits affected their comprehension.
9. The desultory traffic made the commute frustrating.
10. He approached the task in a desultory manner, causing delays.
11. The garden showed signs of desultory care and neglect.
12. The lecture was criticized for its desultory delivery.
13. Their desultory relationship lacked commitment.
14. The weather forecast predicted more desultory showers.
15. The desultory progress on the project was a cause for concern.
16. His desultory attitude towards work was holding back his colleagues.
17. The desultory weather made it impossible to complete the outdoor task.
18. He had a desultory approach to studying, often getting distracted.
19. The desultory state of the economy was reflected in the stock market.
20. The employee's desultory performance led to his dismissal from the company.
21. His desultory demeanor made it hard for him to make friends.
22. The desultory state of the roads made the journey a bumpy one.
23. The desultory conversation failed to spark any inspiration.
24. The desultory conversation between the two politicians failed to yield any agreements.
25. The conversation was desultory, with neither party showing much interest in the topic.



random, methodical, systematic, consistent


SAT 14 (Scholastic Assessment Test), High School 9, Puzzlement and Perplexity

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