Simple Definition of continual
: happening without interruption : not stopping or ending
: happening again and again within short periods of time
Full Definition of continual
1 : continuing indefinitely in time without interruption <continual fear>
2 : recurring in steady usually rapid succession <a history of continual invasions>
Examples of continual in a sentence
This week we experienced days of continual sunshine.
The country has been in a continual state of war since it began fighting for its independence.
The continual interruptions by the student were annoying the teacher.
Did You Know?
Since the mid-19th century, many grammarians have drawn a distinction between continual and continuous. Continual should only mean "occurring at regular intervals," they insist, whereas continuous should be used to mean "continuing without interruption." This distinction overlooks the fact that continual is the older word and was used with both meanings for centuries before continuous appeared on the scene. The prescribed sense of continuous became established only in the 19th century, and it never succeeded in completely driving out the equivalent sense of continual. Today, continual is the more likely of the two to mean "recurring," but it also continues to be used, as it has been since the 14th century, with the meaning "continuing without interruption."
Origin of continual
Middle English, from Anglo-French continuel, from Latin continuus continuous
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of continual
CONTINUAL Defined for Kids
Definition of continual for Students
1 : going on or lasting without stop <On every side there rose a continual chattering. — Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill>
2 : occurring again and again within short periods of time <Your continual interruptions are annoying.>
Seen and Heard
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