Definition of continual
1 : continuing indefinitely in time without interruption continual fear
2 : recurring in steady usually rapid succession a history of continual invasions
continual was our Word of the Day on 03/15/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of continual in a Sentence
This week we experienced days of continual sunshine.
The country has been in a continual state of war since it began fighting for its independence.
The continual interruptions by the student were annoying the teacher.
Recent Examples of continual from the Web
Font Family Proportional Sans-Serif Monospace Sans-Serif Proportional Serif Monospace Serif Casual Script Small Caps Defaults Done — Sad Grandma DEAR SAD GRANDMA: Isn’t your daughter herself already a continual reminder of your ex-husband?
Isn't your daughter herself already a continual reminder of your ex-husband?
Bezos got a pass from investors for years on profits, seemingly impervious to Wall Street’s hunger for continual quarterly returns.
Sad Grandma Isn’t your daughter herself already a continual reminder of your ex-husband?
Despite continual attempts, Pakistan has failed to significantly widen its tax base in recent years, despite efforts to lure more filers under the IMF reform program.
Ancient Greek stadiums show continual upgrades to the starting line of the race.
Since 1995, Henson has been an active online critic of the Scientologists and their credo of continual and expensive self-purification that also gives a strong nod to the power of extraterrestrial influences.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'continual'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Since the mid-19th century, many grammarians have drawn a distinction between continual and continuous. Continual should only mean "occurring at regular intervals," they insist, whereas continuous should be used to mean "continuing without interruption." This distinction overlooks the fact that continual is the older word and was used with both meanings for centuries before continuous appeared on the scene. The prescribed sense of continuous became established only in the 19th century, and it never succeeded in completely driving out the equivalent sense of continual. Today, continual is the more likely of the two to mean "recurring," but it also continues to be used, as it has been since the 14th century, with the meaning "continuing without interruption."
Origin and Etymology of continual
Middle English, from Anglo-French continuel, from Latin continuus continuous
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of continual
CONTINUAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of continual for English Language Learners
: happening without interruption : not stopping or ending
: happening again and again within short periods of time
CONTINUAL Defined for Kids
Definition of continual for Students
1 : going on or lasting without stop On every side there rose a continual chattering. — Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill
2 : occurring again and again within short periods of time Your continual interruptions are annoying.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up continual? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).