dis·​con·​tin·​u·​ous ˌdis-kən-ˈtin-yə-wəs How to pronounce discontinuous (audio)
: not continuous
a discontinuous series of events
: not continued : discrete
discontinuous features of terrain
: lacking sequence or coherence
: having one or more mathematical discontinuities
used of a variable or a function
discontinuously adverb

Examples of discontinuous in a Sentence

a discontinuous series of events the novel captures the discontinuous nature of a soldier's life: long stretches of boredom interrupted by flashes of action
Recent Examples on the Web Ignoring this would mean disregarding the essential governance and coordination elements of industrial policy and characterizing this approach as being discontinuous with what’s already happening on the ground. TIME, 16 Oct. 2023 In the current conflict, Hamas attacked Israel with much greater sophistication and scale than ever before—a massive, discontinuous change. Amy Zegart, Foreign Affairs, 11 Oct. 2023 Abstract: Tasks involving locally unstable or discontinuous dynamics (such as bifurcations and collisions) remain challenging in robotics, because small variations in the environment can have a significant impact on task outcomes. Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum, 2 June 2023 The world is in the early stages of a vast and likely discontinuous energy transition that will match the Industrial Revolution in its hard-to-anticipate effects. Robert B. Zoellick, Foreign Affairs, 22 Feb. 2022 The film does not try to hide the digital stitches that bind together discontinuous elements. Abraham Villa Figueroa, Variety, 11 Aug. 2023 Geologists have known since the late 19th century that the world’s fossil-bearing rocks represent a discontinuous fraction of the various environments that have come and gone through time. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 July 2023 Its 800-fill down is sewn into a single sheet of fabric in discontinuous channels, saving extra weight and minimizing cold spots. Danny Perez, Popular Mechanics, 3 Feb. 2023 Obstacles of large and steep variations in ground elevation (relative to the robots height) creating discontinuous paths for walking (i.e. theres a limit to the slope of a terrain that can be walked over which is around 45 degrees for humans). IEEE Spectrum, 16 Aug. 2016 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1645, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of discontinuous was in 1645

Dictionary Entries Near discontinuous

Cite this Entry

“Discontinuous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discontinuous. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​con·​tin·​u·​ous ˌdis-kən-ˈtin-yə-wəs How to pronounce discontinuous (audio)
: not continuous : having interruptions or gaps : broken
discontinuous sleep

More from Merriam-Webster on discontinuous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!