con·tin·u·um | \kən-ˈtin-yü-əm \
plural continua\kən-ˈtin-yü-ə \ 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

Wine is somewhere on that continuum, somewhere between first being borrowed and then being fully assimilated into our culture. Michael Austin,, "For the Fourth, drink American: Syrah, pinot, grenache and a vineyard full of other U.S. wines," 28 June 2018 Offering a continuum of care for the homeless is listed as a two-year goal. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Gwinnett County, United Way to tackle homelessness," 29 June 2018 Burge said that Hamilton County provides a continuum of care facilitated by Strategies to End Homelessness. Laura A. Hobson,, "Interfaith Hospitality Network: A circle of community concern," 17 June 2018 Social Distortion is firmly in the rock continuum of Elvis Presley and Bruce Springsteen. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "Social Distortion headlines the Middle of the Map Fest June 30 at Crossroads KC.," 13 June 2018 So everyone needs to be aware of this in the care continuum. Naseem S. Miller,, "Large AIDS conference coming to Orlando in September," 13 July 2018 But the ill-advisement of having brought them back flies in the face of evolution and the natural continuum. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "Jeff Goldblum, Back in ‘Jurassic World’ and Making a Small Role Big," 15 June 2018 Along this particular continuum, Democrats won the House, thanks in part to the success of moderate candidates in their party. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Ousted Rep. Joe Crowley the latest lawmaker 'supposed to be' House Speaker," 1 July 2018 Heralded as a bleeding veggie patty that looks, tastes and even sizzles like meat, the product is sold in almost 2,000 restaurants—stretching across the bun-slinging continuum from Bareburger to White Castle. Deena Shanker,, "Is It Too Early for Fake Meat?," 27 June 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.

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First Known Use of continuum

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for continuum

Latin, neuter of continuus — see continuous

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for continuum

The first known use of continuum was in 1646

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English Language Learners Definition of continuum

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

More from Merriam-Webster on continuum

Britannica English: Translation of continuum for Arabic Speakers 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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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