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

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 In the Middle Ages, the Ottoman Empire successfully prevented European travelers from making significant inroads into continental Africa, forcing them to settle for exploring the coastal regions of Western Africa, as the Portuguese did in the 1400s. Carolyn Hinds, The Root, "Black Panther: An Allegory of the World Wanting Blackness but Not Black People," 2 Feb. 2018 The exodus of Puerto Ricans to the continental U.S. in the wake of Hurricane Maria is shrinking the island’s population, depleting Prepa’s customer base and leaving creditors fewer avenues to get repaid. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Puerto Rico Utility Directors Resign, Alleging Political Interference," 12 July 2018 Parts of Florida, the southernmost state in the continental U.S., are sitting at a cool 87 at the moment – sounds nice, right? Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville's heat index is the highest in the country right now," 5 July 2018 There are 610 Puerto Rican families living in Florida hotels through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, of over 1,800 households in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico. Bianca Padró Ocasio,, "Vouchers for displaced Puerto Rican families expire Saturday. Here's how many are still staying in local hotels.," 26 June 2018 All areas of the continental U.S. have seen increases in peak rainfall rates in the past 50 years. . . . Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: How a conservation fund helped sink Trump's budget-trimming efforts," 25 June 2018 The range of these mosquitoes also extends well into the continental U.S., particularly in the southern and eastern states. Heath Macmillan, Smithsonian, "Why Some Summers Are So Appealing For Mosquitoes," 22 June 2018 The NWS Climate Prediction Center has predicted above-average temperatures for most of the continental U.S. throughout the rest of the month, not excluding Indiana. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis heats up this weekend as temperatures climb into the 90s," 15 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

9 Sep 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).


not any or not one

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