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 show’s creator, Peter Morgan, works in a continuum from known fact to pure fantasy but in a such seamless fashion that the viewer doesn’t know, or even care, which is which. Washington Post, "The British royal family is struggling through scandals. Can ‘The Crown’ help?," 27 Dec. 2019 Localized cancer, headline risk—call it what you will, these episodes create wrinkles in the investment time-space continuum that long-term investors can use to arbitrage between perception and reality. Adam Seessel, Fortune, "Valuation: Why Health Insurer Anthem Is Worth Investing In," 19 Nov. 2019 Crosswords play demented Yenta: alphabetical alchemy smashes together pairs that wouldn’t otherwise inhabit the same space-time continuum. Adrienne Raphel, The New Yorker, "How Crosswords Put Your Brain Into Hyperdrive," 16 Sep. 2019 Using that as a marker, the researchers measured the wing length of tiger mosquitoes trapped across a continuum of neighborhoods in Baltimore. Allen Kim, CNN, "Lower income neighborhoods have bigger mosquitoes that may be more efficient at transmitting diseases, a study finds," 17 Oct. 2019 There’s an element of classicism in some of her pieces that places her on a continuum with Mariano Fortuny. Vogue, "Golden Lady: Zandra Rhodes Celebrates 50 Years in Fashion With an Exhibition in London," 25 Sep. 2019 Others across the continuum of care share this concern. Bob Stein And Marie Bell, Twin Cities, "Stein, Bell: The real costs of expanding Medicare," 20 Sep. 2019 For Scott, creating art like this is an act that exists across a continuum. Andy Meek, Billboard, "The Avett Brothers Tackle America's 'Rough Journey' on New Album," 5 Sep. 2019 Gray later formed Bridgewood and RCM, focusing on higher-end, ground-up developments across the care continuum in urban infill markets with dislocations in supply-demand balance. Houston Chronicle, "Bridgewood Property Co. builds regional scale in senior living," 19 July 2019

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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Statistics for continuum

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Continuum.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for continuum

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

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