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
2 : mainland
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 In 2010, researchers established a Europe-wide network of sewage samplers to probe for illicit drug use across the continent. Megan Molteni, STAT, 17 June 2021 Fans would be expected to travel across the continent – increasing costs and their carbon footprint. Robert Kidd, Forbes, 17 June 2021 The resumption of travel will be a major boost to tourism-dependent economies across the continent. BostonGlobe.com, 16 June 2021 The virus already has had an impact on the tournament, which for the first time is not being hosted by one or two nations but is spread out across the continent with matches in 11 cities. Karl Ritter, Star Tribune, 11 June 2021 The virus already has had an impact on the tournament, which for the first time is not being hosted by one or two nations but is spread out across the continent with matches in 11 cities. Karl Ritter, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 June 2021 Tied to this, is rapid acceleration of investment into African data centers, which are riding on rapid digitalization of operations and systems across the continent. Tawanda Karombo, Quartz, 10 June 2021 But the path towards summer travel hasn’t been uniformly smooth across the continent. Eve Sneider, Wired, 4 June 2021 The system, which uses a QR code with a digital signature and will be standardized across the continent next month, will exempt European travelers from most travel restrictions. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective No cross-continent plane ticket is required for these incredible Japanese skin-care products. Sophie Wirt, Allure, 16 Dec. 2020 Prior to the pandemic, high-cost cities such as New York, San Francisco and Austin were already losing their gloss, creating an opening for affordable, mid-continent cities such as Cleveland. Steven Litt, cleveland, 21 Nov. 2020 Cohen’s cross-continent outreach — from his parents’ house in Malibu to voters in Georgia — is standard for pandemic-era campaign work, especially among Democrats. Brian Contreras, Los Angeles Times, 30 Oct. 2020 This was why every previous Civ multiplayer had been decried as sluggish and unfair—a half-second freeze and a 45-degree rotation of a regiment was a forgivable glitch; a 10-second freeze and a cross-continent teleportation of that regiment was not. Sid Meier, Ars Technica, 8 Sep. 2020 The mid-continent snow goose population is estimated at 15 to 20 million birds (some biologists think that’s conservative). Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, 28 Aug. 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

20 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Continent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/continent. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for continent

continent

noun

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

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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