continuum

noun
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

Ma is on the same continuum of Hollywood’s race hyperconsciousness. Armond White, National Review, "Ma’s Black-Mammy Stereotypes Capture the Illiberal Spirit," 7 June 2019 This bike resides on the opposite end of that continuum. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Road Bikes for Every Cyclist," 8 May 2019 Think of a car as being on a continuum: Somewhere between the shiny new car and its place on the scrap pile is (drum roll) you. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019 The photographic tour de force, a five-page foldout, connects then and now in a continuum of the society’s legacy of conservation. Cathy Newman, WSJ, "Saving Earth’s Oldest Living Things," 7 Dec. 2018 There is a continuum; an incredibly complex range of issues to deal with. James Vincent, The Verge, "Browser plug-ins that spot fake news show the difficulty of tackling the ‘information apocalypse’," 23 Aug. 2018 Daniel Arsham has an uncanny life along the space-time continuum. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Only 500 of This Artist’s Space Kit Candle Are Up for Grabs—And They’re Totally Worth the Hype," 30 Nov. 2018 The company maintains the design change is part of a continuum. Matthew Haag, The Seattle Times, "In a victory for PETA, animal crackers roam free," 21 Aug. 2018 An animal’s niche is part of a continuum, with lots and lots of dimensions. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "The evolutionary mystery of gigantic human brains," 23 Aug. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of continuum

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for continuum

Latin, neuter of continuus — see continuous

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about continuum

Statistics for continuum

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for continuum

The first known use of continuum was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for continuum

continuum

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on continuum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for continuum

Britannica English: Translation of continuum for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about continuum

Comments on continuum

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

WORD OF THE DAY

standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!