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

There, 1,500 dedicated staff members provide compassionate and innovative medical, dental, and behavioral health services to 105,000 patients of all backgrounds, in a continuum of care from pediatrics to geriatrics. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A 50th Anniversary Fiesta," 29 Aug. 2019 Gaza’s cuisine is part of the culinary continuum of the Levant. The Economist, "How to eat well while living under siege," 2 Aug. 2019 This trunk rattler wants to rip your brain through the space-time continuum onto a dance floor of true freedom. Katie Bain, Billboard, "First Spin: The Week's Best New Dance Tracks From Yotto, ATLiens, Jubilee & More," 26 July 2019 Earlier today, the fabric of the space-time continuum stretched and rearranged itself. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "I Watched the Cats Trailer and I Have Some Questions," 18 July 2019 Did the beverage empire somehow break the time-space continuum? Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Somehow a Starbucks Cup Made It Into a Game of Thrones Scene Last Night," 12 May 2019 There was a continuum that fans did, and do, understand. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Yesterday’ Review: A World With No Beatles," 27 June 2019 The 31,000-square-foot facility will focus on the entire continuum of care for sports medicine, from prevention to treatment to rehabilitation. Kara Carlson, Dallas News, "New $10M sports medicine center in Allen brings together injury prevention, treatment and training," 18 June 2019 The similarity was so striking that Margolis realized that some viruses — like HIV and other small RNA viruses — and exosomes and extracellular vesicles fall on two different extremes of the same continuum. Quanta Magazine, "Cells Talk in a Language That Looks Like Viruses," 2 May 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

4 Sep 2019

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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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on continuum

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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