[kuh n-tin-yoo-uh s]
See more synonyms for continuous on
  1. uninterrupted in time; without cessation: continuous coughing during the concert.
  2. being in immediate connection or spatial relationship: a continuous series of blasts; a continuous row of warehouses.
  3. Grammar. progressive(def 7).

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for continuously

Contemporary Examples of continuously

Historical Examples of continuously

  • The ground on which they walked ascended gradually and continuously.

    Sielanka: An Idyll

    Henryk Sienkiewicz

  • He smoked cigarettes and drank tea in silence, continuously.

    Under Western Eyes

    Joseph Conrad

  • The actual facts are that I began this book impulsively and wrote it continuously.

    Notes on My Books

    Joseph Conrad

  • A tumultuous shuffling of feet went on continuously over our heads.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • Why had this song been so persistently and continuously played?

    The Ivory Snuff Box

    Arnold Fredericks

British Dictionary definitions for continuously


  1. prolonged without interruption; unceasinga continuous noise
  2. in an unbroken series or pattern
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. 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 continuously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

continuously in Medicine


  1. Uninterrupted in time, sequence, substance, or extent.
  2. 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.

continuously in Science


  1. Relating to a line or curve that extends without a break or irregularity.
  2. 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.