continent

noun
con·​ti·​nent | \ ˈkän-tə-nənt How to pronounce continent (audio) , ˈkänt-nənt \

Definition of continent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : one of the six or seven great divisions of land on the globe
b capitalized : the continent of Europe used with the
3 archaic : container, confines
4 archaic : epitome

continent

adjective
con·​ti·​nent | \ ˈkän-tə-nənt How to pronounce continent (audio) \

Definition of continent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exercising continence Most children are continent by the age of three.
2 obsolete : restrictive

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Other Words from continent

Adjective

continently adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for continent

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of continent in a Sentence

Noun The book provides information on hotels in Britain and on the Continent. Europe and Asia are sometimes considered together to be one continent. Adjective Most children are continent by age three. a religious sect that expects its unmarried members to be completely celibate and its married adherents to maintain continent relationships
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Due to a halt in synthetic drug production across the continent during the coronavirus lockdown, police said ISIS was likely taking advantage of the shortage of supply in the drug market. NBC News, "Italian police seize 14 tons of amphetamines with possible ISIS link," 1 July 2020 Andela is now accepting applications from senior developers across the continent adept in the most in-demand web frameworks and program languages. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Andela is expanding across Africa after shutting down its offices and going remote," 1 July 2020 But as continent-wide lockdowns kept people at home over the spring and into this summer, the impact on the region's carriers was immediate, nearly eliminating air travel, with most carriers requesting government assistance. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "Climate conditions on airline government bailouts are rare—and the coronavirus likely won’t be an exception," 26 June 2020 South Africa, which accounts for about half of the infections on the African continent with over 118,000, reported a record of nearly 6,600 new cases after loosening what had been one of the world's strictest lockdowns earlier this month. CBS News, "Confirmed new coronavirus cases hit all-time high in U.S.," 26 June 2020 Even though the international trade in ivory has been banned since 1990, some 30,000 African elephants are still killed by poachers each year, out of a continent-wide population of about 400,000. National Geographic, "Is elephant poaching really declining?," 25 June 2020 On a continent where many health systems are fragile and transfers of power often tenuous, the balance between public health and democracy has been particularly hard to strike. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "Protect the vote, or the voter? In African elections, no easy choice.," 23 June 2020 These are big reforms on a continent where property taxes bring in less than 0.4% of GDP, compared with about 2% in the rich world. The Economist, "A tax on all your houses A mayor is reforming Sierra Leone’s rotten property tax," 20 June 2020 Europe’s largest banks are resuming plans to cut thousands of jobs after putting dismissals on hold to show support for employees affected by the coronavirus outbreak across the continent. BostonGlobe.com, "Netflix’s Hastings donates $120m to fund Black education efforts," 18 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'continent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of continent

Noun

1541, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for continent

Noun

(senses 1-2) borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, "land forming part of a continuous mass (as opposed to an island)," borrowed from Latin continent-, continens (short for terra continens), from continent-, continens, adjective, "uninterrupted, continuous, forming part of a continuous mass," from present participle of continēre "to hold together, restrain, have as contents"; (senses 3-4) probably borrowed from Medieval Latin continentia "container, content, tenor (of a document)," noun derivative of Latin continent-, continens, present participle of continēre — more at contain

Note: The regular outcome of Medieval Latin continentia following the rules for adopting such nouns in English would have been continence, but as this word was already in use as an abstract noun, writers may have resorted to continent. Note continent in Middle English used by the translator of Chauliac's Grande Chirurgie in the sense "content."

Adjective

Middle English contynent "abstemious, refraining from sexual intercourse," borrowed from Middle French continent, borrowed from Medieval Latin continent-, continens, going back to Latin, "restrained, not indulging in excesses," from present participle of continēre "to hold together, restrain, have as contents" — more at contain

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Time Traveler for continent

Time Traveler

The first known use of continent was in the 14th century

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Statistics for continent

Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Continent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/continent. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for continent

continent

noun
How to pronounce continent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of continent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of the great divisions of land (such as North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, or Antarctica) of the Earth
chiefly British : the countries of Europe except for Great Britain and Ireland

continent

adjective
How to pronounce continent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of continent (Entry 2 of 2)

medical : able to control your bladder and bowels

continent

noun
con·​ti·​nent | \ ˈkän-tə-nənt How to pronounce continent (audio) \

Kids Definition of continent

: one of the great divisions of land on the globe—Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, or South America

continent

adjective
con·​ti·​nent | \ ˈkänt-ᵊn-ənt How to pronounce continent (audio) \

Medical Definition of continent

: exercising continence

Other Words from continent

continently adverb

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Comments on continent

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