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 (dĭs-kŏn′tə-no͞o′ĭ-tē, -nyo͞o′-)
n. pl. dis·con·ti·nu·i·ties
1. Lack of continuity, logical sequence, or cohesion.
2. A break or gap.
3. Geology A surface at which seismic wave velocities change.
4. Mathematics
a. A point at which a function is defined but is not continuous.
b. A point at which a function is undefined.


n, pl -ties
1. lack of rational connection or cohesion
2. a break or interruption
3. (Mathematics) maths
a. the property of being discontinuous
b. the point or the value of the variable at which a curve or function becomes discontinuous
4. (Geological Science) geology
a. a zone within the earth where a sudden change in physical properties, such as the velocity of earthquake waves, occurs. Such a zone marks the boundary between the different layers of the earth, as between the core and mantle. See also Mohorovičić discontinuity
b. a surface separating rocks that are not continuous with each other


(ˌdɪs kɒn tnˈu ɪ ti, -ˈyu-)

n., pl. -ties.
1. lack of continuity; irregularity.
2. a break or gap.
3. a point at which a mathematical function is not continuous.
[1560–70; < Medieval Latin]



lose the thread To lose one’s train of thought in a discussion; to have the continuity of one’s thoughts or words interrupted. Thread in this phrase is the central thought connecting successive points, a continuous flow which is carried on in spite of digressions or interruptions. This figurative use of thread dates from the mid-17th century.

We laughed so violently … that he could not recover the thread of his harangue. (Frances Burney, Diary and Letters, 1782)

side-track To diverge from the main subject, course, or road; to go off on a tangent; to shelve or otherwise delay consideration of some matter. Literally, to side-track means to shunt a train onto a siding, off the main track, hence its figurative implications.

The business of the minister is to preach the gospel, not … to side-track on great moral issues. (Advance [Chicago, Illinois], June, 1893)

A related expression which also employs railroad terminology is off the track.

table In U.S. parliamentary procedure this verb means to ‘postpone action on’:

The amendment which was always present, which was rejected and tabled and postponed. (The Century XXXVII, 1873)

In British parliamentary procedure, it means to ‘present for discussion’:

If any more “Old Residents” wish to be heard, they must table their names. (Pall Mall Gazette, Jan. 3, 1887)

This is a confusing state of affairs and must be watched carefully by those encountering the term in what may be foreign contexts.


A zone that marks a boundary between different layers of the Earth, such as between the mantle and the core, and where the velocity of seismic waves changes.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.discontinuity - lack of connection or continuity
separation - the state of lacking unity
continuity - uninterrupted connection or union


noun lack of unity, disconnection, incoherence, disunion, lack of coherence, disjointedness, disconnectedness The text suffers from discontinuity.


A cessation of continuity or regularity:


[ˌdɪskɒntɪˈnjuːɪtɪ] N (= lack of continuity) → discontinuidad f; (= interruption) → interrupción f


[ˌdɪsˌkɒntɪˈnjuːɪti] ndiscontinuité f


nmangelnde Kontinuität, Diskontinuität f (geh); a certain amount of discontinuityein gewisser Mangel an Kontinuität; to reduce any discontinuity to a minimumdie Kontinuität möglichst wenig unterbrechen


[dɪsˌkɒntɪˈnjuːɪtɪ] (frm) n (quality) → discontinuità f inv; (gap) → interruzione f
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