/ kənˈtɪnjuəs; NAmE / adjective
happening or existing for a period of time without interruption :
She was in continuous employment until the age of sixty-five.
The rain has been continuous since this morning.
spreading in a line or over an area without any spaces :
a continuous line of traffic
( informal ) repeated many times
SYN continual :
For four days the town suffered continuous attacks.
HELP NOTE : Continual is much more frequent in this meaning.
( grammar ) = progressive :
the continuous tenses
► con·tinu·ous·ly adverb :
He has lived and worked in France almost continuously since 1990.
continuous / continual
These adjectives are frequently used with the following nouns:
| continuous ~ | continual ~ |
| process | change |
| employment | problems |
| flow | updating |
| line | questions |
| speech | pain |
| supply | fear |
Continuous describes something that continues without stopping.
Continual usually describes an action that is repeated again and again.
The difference between these two words is now disappearing. In particular, continual can also mean the same as continuous and is used especially about undesirable things:
Life was a continual struggle for them.
However, continuous is much more frequent in this sense.
mid 17th cent.: from Latin continuus uninterrupted, from continere hang together (from con- together with + tenere hold) + -ous .