con·ti·nen·tal | \ˌkän-tə-ˈnen-tᵊl \

Definition of continental 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a continent continental waters specifically, often capitalized : of or relating to the continent of Europe excluding the British Isles

b often capitalized : of, relating to, or being a cuisine derived from the classic dishes of Europe and especially France

2a often capitalized : of or relating to the colonies later forming the U.S. Continental Congress

b : being the part of the U.S. on the North American continent also : being the part of the U.S. comprising the lower 48 states



Definition of continental (Entry 2 of 2)

1a often capitalized : an American soldier of the Revolution in the Continental army

b(1) : a piece of Continental paper currency

(2) : the least bit not worth a continental

2 : an inhabitant of a continent and especially the continent of Europe

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Other Words from continental


continentally \ˌkän-tə-ˈnen-tə-lē \ adverb

Synonyms for continental

Synonyms: Noun

beans, darn (also durn), fig, hoot, iota, jot, lick, modicum, rap, syllable, tittle, whit, whoop

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Examples of continental in a Sentence


They will be touring Continental Europe. differences between Britain and its Continental neighbors The hotel combines American comfort with continental elegance.


complained that today's youth doesn't care a continental about their elders
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

European officials want big lenders to merge, arguing for a muscular pan-continental bank to take on U.S. rivals like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "Why It’s So Hard to Build a Banking Giant," 13 June 2018 The 130-million-year old skull is evidence that the super-continental breakup of the landmass known as Pangaea may have occurred about 15 million years later, to be exact. Matthew Martinez, sacbee, "Fossilized skull found in Utah belongs to newly discovered half mammal, half reptile," 31 May 2018 The term prairie has come to represent the mid-continental grasslands dominated by warm-season prairie grasses and many showy flowers. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Micro prairies: No yard is too small to go with earth-friendly native plants," 25 May 2018 The story Isokauppila loves to tell is that a mushroom-heavy diet has kept illness at bay for the past 10 years of his life, despite frequent and debilitating cross-continental travel. Brennan Kilbane, GQ, "These Magical Mushroom Supplements Don't Get You High, They Make You Feel Better," 16 Apr. 2018 The Great Rift Valley is named for its location atop an intra-continental ridge system that has been tectonically active for millions of years. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "Colored Pigments and Complex Tools Suggest Humans Were Trading 100,000 Years Earlier Than Previously Believed," 16 Mar. 2018 The first airline jumbo-jet took off just six weeks before the show opened, launching mass trans-Atlantic and trans-continental travel. Christopher Knight,, "'Harald Szeemann': A rare, fascinating exhibition about the curator, not the artist," 8 Mar. 2018 So much is already so off-limits to so many, including expensive cross-continental travel. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why All Major Museums Should Be Free," 19 Jan. 2018 Henry Ndangalasi University of Dar Es Salaam Patrut has largely focused on the African baobab, Adansonia digitata, scattered mostly throughout continental Africa and the surrounding islands. National Geographic, "Africa's Oldest Trees Are Dying, and Scientists Are Stumped," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many of these airlines also have different policies for intra-continental, short-haul flights, which are not included here. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "International Basic Economy: How Every Major Airline Compares," 5 July 2018 Organizers of the Asian Games—a pan-continental, multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia—have confirmed eSports will be a demonstration event later this year. Chris Morris, Fortune, "The IOC Is Another Step Closer to Including Video Games in the Olympics," 28 June 2018 Goals, fame and second-tier continental, as well as league success, came to the Brazilian, who became only the second man to break the world transfer record twice, all before his 21st birthday., "World Cup Countdown: 4 Weeks to Go - A Career Overview of Brazil's 2002 World Cup Hero, Ronaldo," 27 May 2018 But the most fun part is spinning the globe itself and watching the unfamiliar continental and oceanic formations of times past. Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "Ancient Earth Globe lets you travel back in time for a look at the planet," 24 Mar. 2018 The Confederations Cup is a trophy competed for by the seven current reigning continental or world champions and a host nation, in every odd year following a round of continental tournaments., "FIFA Propose New 'Final 8' World Cup Tournament as Part of the International Football Reform," 2 May 2018 Whatever optimism that remained among American fans was based on a belief that the team’s supposedly better-than-the-continental-competition talent would ultimately prevail. Eric Betts, Slate Magazine, "Under Bruce Arena, the U.S. men’s national soccer team has transformed from an embarrassment into an aggressive attacking force.," 27 Mar. 2017 Wind drives water at the surface of the shallow continental shelf, at depths of about 300 feet (91 meters), north to water off the shelf, which drops to depths of more than 10,000 feet (3,050 meters). Washington Post, "Arctic researchers to study wind effects on marine life," 22 Aug. 2017 For her next challenge Pillinger, who still commutes 26 miles by bike every day from her home in St Albans into London, will compete in the trans-continental -- a 1,790-mile race from Belgium to Greece. Chris Murphy, CNN, "Is this the world's toughest bike race?," 13 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'continental.' 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 continental


1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Phrases Related to continental

continental U.S.

Statistics for continental

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for continental

The first known use of continental was in 1755

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More Definitions for continental



English Language Learners Definition of continental

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or located on a continent

Continental : of or relating to the countries of Europe except for Great Britain and Ireland

: characteristic of Europe



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

: a person from Continental Europe


con·ti·nen·tal | \ˌkän-tə-ˈnen-tᵊl \

Kids Definition of continental

1 : being the mainland part and not including islands the continental United States

2 often capitalized : of the colonies later forming the United States the Continental Army

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Comments on continental

What made you want to look up continental? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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