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Definition lacking plan or purpose; or half-hearted
  • He jumped from job to job in a desultory manner until he met Mary.
desultory = lacking plan or purpose; or half-hearted
  • desultory conversation characteristic of that kind of party
  • So speaking, she went across to his bookshelves and began looking in a desultory way among his books.
    Woolf, Virginia  --  Night and Day
  • In a desultory way he had read a good deal of philosophy, and he looked forward with delight to the leisure of the next few months.
    Maugham, W. Somerset  --  Of Human Bondage
  • At first the conversation was desultory.
    London, Jack  --  Martin Eden
  • After a little desultory conversation he asked me if there was anything in which his advice or experience could be of use.
    Bronte, Charlotte  --  The Professor
  • But the firing was desultory.
    Ernest Hemingway  --  For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • desultory = lacking plan or purpose; or half-hearted
  • Before October, 1893, I had studied various subjects by myself in a more or less desultory manner.
    Helen Keller  --  Story of My Life
  • desultory = lacking plan or purpose; or half-hearted
  • ...the desultory gatherings of dirty men who huddle some distance from the train and pass around various types of intoxicant.
    Sara Gruen  --  Water for Elephants
  • desultory = lacking plan or purpose
  • Grover began to eat desultorily, and as Janis hadn't had anything yet either, everyone else nibbled to keep them company.
    Gish Jen  --  Typical American
  • desultorily = half-heartedly
  • They spoke instead in a desultory fashion of current events.
    Agatha Christie  --  And Then There Were None
  • desultory = lacking plan or purpose; or half-hearted
  • In the lulls, Robert and his mother exchanged bits of desultory conversation.
    Kate Chopin  --  The Awakening
  • desultory = lacking plan or purpose (jumping from one topic to the next)
  • Now she could identify it as the sound of a piano being played with desultory but undeniable skill, though she couldn't identify the tune.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Bones
  • desultory = half-hearted
  • On the strength of that performance, 90 percent of KIPP students get scholarships to private or parochial high schools instead of having to attend their own desultory high schools in the Bronx.
    Malcolm Gladwell  --  Outliers
  • desultory = half-hearted (in motivation)
  • Desultory reading is delightful, but to be beneficial, our reading must be carefully directed.
  • These projects led to some desultory studies.
    Shaw, George Bernard  --  An Unsocial Socialist
  • He engaged him in desultory conversation as if for the only purpose of keeping a man who could provoke such a sound, near his person.
    Conrad, Joseph  --  Chance
  • Five minutes of desultory reading brought me unexpectedly to an explanation of the advertisement, in the shape of the following paragraph:
    Collins, Wilkie  --  A Rogue's Life
  • The artist, in a desultory manner, had imparted to Phoebe something of his history.
    Hawthorne, Nathaniel  --  House Of Seven Gables
  • His desultory education was mostly in the lines of painting and the Italian and English poets.
    Fletcher, Robert Huntington  --  A History of English Literature

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