I'm look for a word or phrase to describe patterns of behavior that happen for a while, go away for some time, and then happen again. No particular pattern with the phases.

  • 1
    "Intermittent" comes to mind.
    – PMV
    Dec 30 '16 at 16:35

It may depend on context, but intermittent is a good possibility here.


occurring at irregular intervals; not continuous or steady.

Examples of usage would be:

  • The patient was having intermittent pains in his side.
  • The forecast is for intermittent rain.

sporadic also works in this context.


occurring occasionally, singly, or in irregular or random instances

  • sporadic loud noises kept startling everyone
  • 3
    also recurring: Arthritis causes a recurring pain in my joints.
    – RichF
    Dec 30 '16 at 16:50
  • Or simply "occasional", of which the definition given by my dictionary reads: "occurring, appearing, or done infrequently and irregularly".
    – user3395
    Dec 30 '16 at 17:12

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