[kuh n-tin-yoo-uh s]


uninterrupted in time; without cessation: continuous coughing during the concert.
being in immediate connection or spatial relationship: a continuous series of blasts; a continuous row of warehouses.

Origin of continuous

1635–45; < Latin continuus uninterrupted, equivalent to contin(ēre) to hold together, retain (con- con- + -tinēre, combining form of tenēre to hold; cf. contain) + -uus deverbal adj. suffix; cf. -ous, contiguous
Related formscon·tin·u·ous·ly, adverbcon·tin·u·ous·ness, nounnon·con·tin·u·ous, adjectivenon·con·tin·u·ous·ly, adverbnon·con·tin·u·ous·ness, nounqua·si-con·tin·u·ous, adjectivequa·si-con·tin·u·ous·ly, adverbsem·i·con·tin·u·ous, adjectivesem·i·con·tin·u·ous·ly, adverbun·con·tin·u·ous, adjectiveun·con·tin·u·ous·ly, adverb
Can be confusedcontinual continuous intermittent (see usage note at continual)

Usage note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for continuous

Contemporary Examples of continuous

Historical Examples of continuous

  • She always thought of seventy-nine as one continuous November.

  • Porter viewed this continuous performance with silent skepticism.


    W. A. Fraser

  • This report was followed by another, and yet another, and now by one continuous volley.


    Scian Dubh

  • At its highest speed this ticking changed into a continuous sound of trickling.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • The thunder was not loud, but it kept up a continuous muttering and rumbling.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

British Dictionary definitions for continuous



prolonged without interruption; unceasinga continuous noise
in an unbroken series or pattern
maths (of a function or curve) changing gradually in value as the variable changes in value. A function f is continuous if at every value a of the independent variable the difference between f(x) and f(a) approaches zero as x approaches aCompare discontinuous (def. 2) See also limit (def. 5)
statistics (of a variable) having a continuum of possible values so that its distribution requires integration rather than summation to determine its cumulative probabilityCompare discrete (def. 3)
grammar another word for progressive (def. 8)
Derived Formscontinuously, adverbcontinuousness, noun

Word Origin for continuous

C17: from Latin continuus, from continēre to hold together, contain


Both continual and continuous can be used to say that something continues without interruption, but only continual can correctly be used to say that something keeps happening repeatedly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for continuous

1640s, from French continueus or directly from Latin continuus "uninterrupted, hanging together" (see continue). Related: Continuously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for continuous




Uninterrupted in time, sequence, substance, or extent.
Attached together in repeated units.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for continuous



Relating to a line or curve that extends without a break or irregularity.
A function in which changes, however small, to any x-value result in small changes to the corresponding y-value, without sudden jumps. Technically, a function is continuous at the point c if it meets the following condition: for any positive number ε, however small, there exists a positive number δ such that for all x within the distance δ from c, the value of f(x) will be within the distance ε from f(c). Polynomials, exponential functions, and trigonometric functions are examples of continuous functions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.