con·​tin·​u·​um | \ kən-ˈtin-yü-əm How to pronounce continuum (audio) \
plural continua\ kən-​ˈtin-​yü-​ə How to pronounce continuum (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 Outpatient treatment is a continuum that still has plenty of accountability to help a person in early recovery. Tammy Lofink,, "Ask Tammy Lofink: Resources can help to support recovery from addiction," 24 Apr. 2021 Is this a departure from or a continuum of your work? Corey Seymour, Vogue, "How Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes and Wendy Bevan Created the Transcendent Soundtrack for our Perilous Time," 23 Apr. 2021 Relativity requires a completely smooth continuum of space-time, whereas quantum physics has quantized space. David Marchesephotograph By Mamadi Doumbouya, New York Times, "Neil deGrasse Tyson Thinks Science Can Reign Supreme Again," 17 Apr. 2021 The vision for the Village could not be complete until the full continuum of care provided an assisted living facility for those whose needs fall between living independently and needing nursing home care. Hermine Saunders,, "Saunders: Youthful enthusiasm: History of Carroll Lutheran Village, part III," 11 Apr. 2021 There's been a lot of testimony about the continuum of force, and how much force is reasonable, depending on how hard a suspect is resisting. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, "EXPLAINER: Decision on 'hobble' is at issue in Chauvin trial," 6 Apr. 2021 Stiger agreed that based on the department’s use-of-force continuum, officers are within their right to use a Taser on a subject who is actively resisting. NBC News, "Derek Chauvin trial: Live updates on George Floyd's death," 6 Apr. 2021 The continuum is a consortium of service providers across the state that work together to serve people experiencing homelessness. Ginny Monk, Arkansas Online, "State campaign getting vaccine to the homeless," 5 Apr. 2021 Even the most fabulously random tableau exists within, and depends upon, the blurry continuum of Zoom. James Parker, The Atlantic, "End Meeting for All," 19 Mar. 2021

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

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Continuum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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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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