Definition of continuous in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈtinyo͞oəs/


1Forming an unbroken whole; without interruption: the whole performance is enacted in one continuous movement
More example sentences
  • But the airport is no longer inactive during the afternoons, as there is continuous movement of flights.
  • There will also be environmental monitoring around the works including additional continuous air monitoring.
  • At the time of tooth bud formation, each tooth begins a continuous movement outward in relation to the bone.
unceasing, uninterrupted, unbroken, constant, ceaseless, incessant, steady, sustained, solid, continuing, ongoing, without a break, nonstop, around/round-the-clock, persistent, unremitting, relentless, unrelenting, unabating, unrelieved, without respite, endless, unending, never-ending, perpetual, everlasting, eternal, interminable;
consecutive, rolling, running
archaic without surcease
1.1Forming a series with no exceptions or reversals: there are continuous advances in design and production
More example sentences
  • Accounts of technological development are retrospective stories about continuous advance.
  • A point on the block serves as guide for the repeat impression, so that the design is continuous.
  • The one area of reproduction which can create difficulties in accurate dating is the continuous production of a design over many years.
1.2 Mathematics (Of a function) of which the graph is a smooth unbroken curve, i.e., one such that as the value of x approaches any given value a, the value of f(x) approaches that of f(a) as a limit.
Example sentences
  • In 1873 he gave a continuous function with divergent Fourier series at any point solving a major problem.
  • This means that we can ignore a lot of jumps in functions and integrate them as if they were nice, smooth, continuous functions.
  • He proved strong results on continuous functions containing Sierpinski's curve and wrote several papers on functional spaces.
2 Grammar another term for progressive (sense 3 of the adjective).


There is some overlap in meaning between continuous and continual, but the two words are not wholly synonymous. Both can mean roughly ‘without interruption’ ( a long and continual war; five years of continuous warfare), but continuous is much more prominent in this sense and, unlike continual, can be used to refer to space as well as time, as in the development forms a continuous line along the coast. Continual, on the other hand, typically means ‘happening frequently, with intervals between,’ as in the bus service has been disrupted by continual breakdowns. Overall, continuous occurs much more frequently than continual (almost five times more often in the Oxford English Corpus).



Example sentences
  • Made entirely of bent wood, the joints are subtly hidden to create the effect of continuousness.
  • As Dyer reminds us, we have historically valued stars who appear to ‘bear witness to the continuousness of their own selves’, given that ‘sincerity and authenticity are two qualities greatly prized in stars’.
  • His relocations demonstrate a very specific sort of failure in the midst of a coordinate success: a failure to narrate a new identity in light of the continuousness of Englishness.


Mid 17th century: from Latin continuus 'uninterrupted', from continere 'hang together' (from con- 'together with' + tenere 'hold') + -ous.

Words that rhyme with continuous


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·tin·u·ous

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