Definition of continuous in English:



  • 1Forming an unbroken whole; without interruption:

    ‘the whole performance is enacted in one continuous movement’
    • ‘Several traffic signals have been removed and there is continuous, easy movement.’
    • ‘People with Huntington's disease need to have a high calorie diet because they burn more calories with their continuous movement.’
    • ‘A narrow band of waterside willows is continuous and is bordered on our side by a flat area 20 yards wide, then the floodbank.’
    • ‘This position goes against all appearances, which constrain our senses to believe that the sun is in continuous movement around the earth.’
    • ‘For the purposes of this book, an urban area is defined as a single continuous and contiguous area of urban development.’
    • ‘The continuous monitoring of the lake ecology reveals far-reaching changes in its environment.’
    • ‘He pulled his wand out of his robes and began to concentrate and wave it around with a continuous wrist movement.’
    • ‘The residents in the area were faced with continuous flooding on many occasions over a long number of years.’
    • ‘The department of local disaster relief blamed the damaging natural catastrophe on continuous rain in the area in recent days.’
    • ‘Neither should life be frittered away because of endless procrastination and continuous introspection.’
    • ‘During that offensive, there were nine days of continuous bombing over a 60 square mile area.’
    • ‘People often lose weight because they have difficulty eating and burn more calories due to the continuous movement.’
    • ‘There will also be environmental monitoring around the works including additional continuous air monitoring.’
    • ‘At the time of tooth bud formation, each tooth begins a continuous movement outward in relation to the bone.’
    • ‘But perhaps it still admits of a solution which does not require us to deny the possibility of continuous movement.’
    • ‘Cotton is a crop that requires continuous monitoring for its nutrient requirement.’
    • ‘A comprehensive assessment and continuous monitoring of the effects should be undertaken.’
    • ‘But the airport is no longer inactive during the afternoons, as there is continuous movement of flights.’
    • ‘This area had been in continuous occupation for over 1,000 years.’
    • ‘And there is no proper mechanism in place to monitor the fire safety measures in buildings on a continuous basis.’
    continual, uninterrupted, unbroken, constant, ceaseless, incessant, steady, sustained, solid, continuing, ongoing, unceasing, without a break, permanent, non-stop, round-the-clock, always-on, persistent, unremitting, relentless, unrelenting, unabating, unrelieved, without respite, endless, unending, never-ending, perpetual, without end, everlasting, eternal, interminable
    consecutive, running
    with no let-up
    without surcease
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Forming a series with no exceptions or reversals:
      ‘there are continuous advances in design and production’
      • ‘As a rule, in order to sustain a general up-trend in stock prices there must be a continuous increase in money supply.’
      • ‘The decision to relocate and upgrade the branch was necessitated by the continuous growth of the branch.’
      • ‘A point on the block serves as guide for the repeat impression, so that the design is continuous.’
      • ‘Without continuous and increasing demand, any pure fiat system is dead on arrival.’
      • ‘The company, says Jeter, believes that continuous improvement is vital to its business.’
      • ‘With the continuous increase in the number of graduates, the job situation is getting tougher and tougher.’
      • ‘It was called to protest continuous increases in oil and fuel prices.’
      • ‘The report and its findings will be used as an agenda for sustained and continuous improvement to enable all our students to develop and prosper.’
      • ‘The quay was in many respects a local project, born out of local needs, given the continuous increase in trade and shipping in the port of Izmir.’
      • ‘The slab is designed as a continuous plate supported by the floor beams and edge girders.’
      • ‘We have now entered an era of continuous rate increases that has no chance of turning back anytime soon.’
      • ‘Since then, the area has suffered continuous economic decline.’
      • ‘The consequences would be a rapid, continuous, and sizable escalation of oil prices in the short and long term.’
      • ‘Competition is not a good in itself: it is only a good if it achieves continuous improvement in areas that benefit society as a whole.’
      • ‘The one area of reproduction which can create difficulties in accurate dating is the continuous production of a design over many years.’
      • ‘Accounts of technological development are retrospective stories about continuous advance.’
      • ‘Hang gliders have evolved by continuous improvements on previous designs.’
      • ‘A continuous increase in import prices would mean a fall in real income and a slowdown in personal consumption.’
      • ‘With the continuous increase in the size of herds and flocks pastoralists moved away from the settled areas around Adelaide.’
    2. 1.2Mathematics (of a function) of which the graph is a smooth unbroken curve, i.e. one such that as the value of x approaches any given value a, the value of f(x) approaches that of f(a) as a limit.
      • ‘He proved strong results on continuous functions containing Sierpinski's curve and wrote several papers on functional spaces.’
      • ‘He also studied projective geometry, algebraic curves and continuous groups in lectures given by Gustav Kohn.’
      • ‘A similar algorithm was later developed which allowed rational approximation of continuous functions defined on an interval.’
      • ‘In 1873 he gave a continuous function with divergent Fourier series at any point solving a major problem.’
      • ‘This means that we can ignore a lot of jumps in functions and integrate them as if they were nice, smooth, continuous functions.’
  • 2Grammar

    another term for progressive


There is some overlap in meaning between continuous and continual, but the two words are not wholly synonymous. Both can mean roughly ‘without interruption’ (a long and continual war; five years of continuous warfare), but continuous is much more prominent in this sense and, unlike continual, can be used to refer to space as well as time, as in the development forms a continuous line along the coast. Continual, on the other hand, typically means ‘happening frequently, with intervals between’, as in the bus service has been disrupted by continual breakdowns. Overall, continuous occurs much more frequently than continual (almost five times more often in the Oxford English Corpus)


Mid 17th century: from Latin continuus uninterrupted, from continere hang together (from con- together with + tenere hold) + -ous.