1. A stroke or blow. [Obs. or R.]
"Curse on that cross, quoth then the Sarazin, That keeps thy body from the bitter fit." -- Spenser.
2. A sudden and violent attack of a disorder; a stroke of disease, as of epilepsy or apoplexy, which produces convulsions or unconsciousness; a convulsion; a paroxysm; hence, a period of exacerbation of a disease; in general, an attack of disease; as, a fit of sickness.
"And when the fit was on him, I did mark How he did shake." -- Shak.
3. A mood of any kind which masters or possesses one for a time; a temporary, absorbing affection; a paroxysm; as, a fit of melancholy, of passion, or of laughter.
"All fits of pleasure we balanced by an equal degree of pain." -- Swift.
"The English, however, were on this subject prone to fits of jealously." -- Macaulay.
4. A passing humor; a caprice; a sudden and unusual effort, activity, or motion, followed by relaxation or inaction; an impulsive and irregular action.
"The fits of the season." -- Shak.
5. A darting point; a sudden emission. [R.]
"A tongue of light, a fit of flame." -- Coleridge.
By fits and starts
by intervals of action and repose; impulsively and irregularly; intermittently.