So, I happen to be in the process of creating this research paper about a historic figure; I had used Google to search for a synonym of occasionally, and one of the words I stumbled across was “periodically”. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have heard of this word many times in the past; however, I have never known it to be used in the place of a word such as the former mentioned. Up until this point, I’ve only ever really used it in the denotation of “a regular occurrence”.
For that reason, I decided to genuinely find its listed definition – and, as it turns out, this word is a complete paradox. It simultaneously means two entirely different things – they do nothing less than completely contradict each other.
periodically | ˌpirē'ädək(ə)lē |
from time to time; occasionally: I will periodically check on your progress | the students received help from a friend only periodically.
at regularly occurring intervals: the newsletter is sent out periodically to update members | the lamps were periodically switched on and off at 30 minute intervals.
Would someone be willing to explain how I should use this word? I’m incredibly confused – is it even “proper” to use “periodically” so that it means both occasionally and regularly? Or, would it generally be more accepted to just use the common definition (which I assume is the latter)?
I’d appreciate any and all comments and answers! Thanks, everybody!