Word of the Day : September 15, 2019

continual

play
adjective kun-TIN-yoo-ul

Definition

1 : continuing indefinitely in time without interruption

2 : recurring in steady usually rapid succession

Did You Know?

Since the mid-19th century, many grammarians have drawn a distinction between continual and continuous. Continual should only mean "occurring at regular intervals," they insist, whereas continuous should be used to mean "continuing without interruption." This distinction overlooks the fact that continual is the older word and was used with both meanings for centuries before continuous appeared on the scene. Today, continual is the more likely of the two to mean "recurring," but it also continues to be used, as it has been since the 14th century, with the meaning "continuing without interruption."


Examples

The continual blaring of the car's alarm outside made it very difficult for Jane to focus on her work that morning.

"Cows can drink upwards of 50 gallons of water a day, so making sure the animals have continual access to clean water is a must." — Stephanie Blaszczyk, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 July 2019



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete a word that refers to a source of continual supply: w _ l _ s _ r _ n _.

VIEW THE ANSWER

Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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