con·​tin·​u·​um | \ kən-ˈtin-yü-əm How to pronounce continuum (audio) \
plural continua\ kən-​ˈtin-​yü-​ə How to pronounce continua (audio) \ also continuums

Definition of continuum

1 : a coherent whole characterized as a collection, sequence, or progression of values or elements varying by minute degrees "good" and "bad" … stand at opposite ends of a continuum instead of describing the two halves of a line— Wayne Shumaker
2 : the set of real numbers including both the rationals and the irrationals broadly : a compact set which cannot be separated into two sets neither of which contains a limit point of the other

Examples of continuum in a Sentence

His motives for volunteering lie somewhere on the continuum between charitable and self-serving. a continuum of temperatures ranging from very cold to very hot
Recent Examples on the Web The use of the word thug is a part of that history and continuum. Safia Samee Ali, NBC News, "'Not by accident': False 'thug' narratives have long been used to discredit civil rights movements," 27 Sep. 2020 But in his book The Feeling of Life Itself, Koch argues that consciousness is a continuum that extends down the chain of being. Meghan O'gieblyn, Wired, "Is the Internet Conscious? If It Were, How Would We Know?," 16 Sep. 2020 Reid wrongly took for granted that Democrats would control the Senate for the next decade as part of an Obama-Clinton 16-year continuum. Victor Davis Hanson Tribune News Service (tns), Star Tribune, "A plea to Biden voters: Don't empower leftists," 29 Oct. 2020 Reid wrongly took for granted that Democrats would control the Senate for the next decade as part of an Obama-Clinton 16-year continuum. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Election Choice: Constitutional Norms vs. Changing the Rules," 29 Oct. 2020 An Indiegogo campaign for the project fell short of its funding goal, and Edwards’ career moved over to the AR side of the synthetic-reality continuum. Peter Rubin, Wired, "Covid Snuffed Out Burning Man—but the Festival Goes On in VR," 2 Sep. 2020 The expression of this ailment varies but represents different points along the same clinical continuum. David Malebranche, STAT, "Racism: The contagion in health care we need to eradicate," 4 June 2020 Generations provides a full continuum of primary health care, oral health care, behavioral health care and support services for people of all ages through sites in Willimantic, Norwich, Putnam and Danielson., "New song encourages young people to “Mask It Up”," 28 Sep. 2020 The anomalous skin spurs the individual to look beyond himself and feel part of a broader continuum. Jeremy England, WSJ, "The Creator’s Calling Card," 24 Sep. 2020

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

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for continuum

borrowed from Medieval Latin, noun derivative from neuter of Latin continuus continuous

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Time Traveler for continuum

Time Traveler

The first known use of continuum was in 1646

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Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Continuum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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How to pronounce continuum (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of continuum

formal : a range or series of things that are slightly different from each other and that exist between two different possibilities

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Britannica English: Translation of continuum for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about continuum

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