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
: 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 lineWayne Shumaker
: 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 Netanyahu is a corrupt thug, but his violent offenses against the Palestinians are on a continuum with those of his more left-leaning predecessors from Israel’s founding generation. David Klion, The New Republic, 1 Sep. 2023 That’s just not how his brain works underneath that shock of gravity-defying gray hair: Bianco sees himself as part of a long continuum of pizzamakers in America, beginning in the late 1800s with Italian immigrants who brought their cooking traditions with them. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2023 For a growing number of students, education now exists somewhere on a continuum between school and home, in person and online, professional and amateur. Laura Meckler, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Aug. 2023 The proposal aims to create a continuum of services for people in need of recovery from addiction, homelessness, or mental health problems, Koenig added. Danny McDonald,, 21 June 2023 Unfortunately, for patients, cancer care is a continuum of multiple phases — prevention, screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and end-of-life care. Samyukta Mullangi and Vinayak Venkataraman, STAT, 31 May 2023 So there’s kind of a continuum of privacy from the least disturbance to the most disturbance. Adam Tschorn, Los Angeles Times, 11 July 2023 Throughout the set, Beyoncé wove interpolations of her predecessors’ songs throughout her own, as if to place her music in a larger continuum. Lindsay Zoladz, New York Times, 9 July 2023 Yaakov Fein discovers that the past and the present are not two separate entities but a continuum of events and emotions. Elena Lappin, Washington Post, 6 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'continuum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Medieval Latin, noun derivative from neuter of Latin continuus continuous

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of continuum was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near continuum

Cite this Entry

“Continuum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​tin·​u·​um kən-ˈtin-yə-wəm How to pronounce continuum (audio)
plural continuua
also continuums
: something that is continuous and the same throughout and that is often thought of as a series of elements or values which differ by only tiny amounts
"light" and "dark" stand at opposite ends of a continuum

More from Merriam-Webster on continuum

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