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intermittent; often repeated: continual chiming of a clock
Not to be confused with:
continuous – uninterrupted in time: continuous ticking of a clock. [These words are often used without any distinction in meaning, as are continually and continuously. To make a clear distinction, use the contrasting terms intermittent and uninterrupted.]


1. Recurring regularly or frequently: continual improvements in technology.
2. Not interrupted; steady: a process that requires continual monitoring.

con·tin′u·al·ly adv.
Synonyms: continual, continuous, ceaseless, constant, incessant, perpetual, eternal, perennial
These adjectives mean occurring without stopping or occurring repeatedly over a long period of time. Continual is often restricted to what is intermittent or repeated at intervals: The continual banging of the shutter in the wind gave me a headache. But it can also imply a lack of interruption, the focus of continuous and ceaseless: The fugitive was living in a state of continual fear. The police put the house under continuous surveillance. We listened to the ceaseless babble of the stream. Constant stresses steadiness or persistence and unvarying nature: The constant ticking of the clock lulled him to sleep. Incessant adds to constant the suggestion of annoying repetition: The dog's incessant barking kept him up all night. Perpetual emphasizes both steadiness and duration: One side of the moon is in perpetual darkness. Eternal refers to what is everlasting, especially to what is seemingly without temporal beginning or end: "That freedom can be retained only by the eternal vigilance which has always been its price" (Elmer Davis).
Perennial describes existence that goes on year after year, often with the suggestion of self-renewal: The candidates discussed the perennial problem of urban poverty.


1. recurring frequently, esp at regular intervals
2. occurring without interruption; continuous in time
[C14: from Old French continuel, from Latin continuus uninterrupted, from continēre to hold together, contain]
conˌtinuˈality, conˈtinualness n
conˈtinually adv


(kənˈtɪn yu əl)

1. of regular or frequent recurrence; often repeated; very frequent: continual bus departures.
2. happening without interruption or cessation; continuous in time.
[1300–50; Middle English continuel < Middle French < Medieval Latin continuālis = Latin continu(us) continuous + -ālis -al1]
con•tin`u•al′i•ty, con•tin′u•al•ness, n.
con•tin′u•al•ly, adv.
usage: Although the words are used interchangeably in all kinds of speech and writing, some usage guides advise that continual be used only to mean “intermittent” and continuous only to mean “uninterrupted.” To avoid confusion, some writers use instead the terms intermittent (intermittent losses of power during the storm) and uninterrupted (uninterrupted reception during the storm) or similar expressions. continuous is never interchangeable with continual in the sense of spatial relationship: a continuous (not continual) series of passages.



You can use constant, continual, and continuous to describe things that happen or exist without stopping.

1. 'constant'

You describe something as constant when it happens all the time or never goes away.

He was in constant pain.
I'm getting tired of Eva's constant criticism.
2. 'continual' and 'continuous'

Continual is usually used to describe something that happens often over a period of time. If something is continuous, it happens all the time without stopping, or seems to do so. For example, if you say 'There was continual rain', you mean that it rained often. If you say 'There was continuous rain', you mean that it did not stop raining.

Continual can only be used in front of a noun. Don't use it after a verb. Continuous can be used either in front of a noun or after a linking verb.

There have been continual demands to cut costs.
He still smoked despite the continual warnings of his nurse.
There was a continuous background noise.
Breathing should be slow and continuous.

If you are describing something undesirable which continues to happen or exist without stopping, it is better to use continual rather than continuous.

Life is a continual struggle.
She was in continual pain.
3. 'continual' or 'continuous'

If you are describing something undesirable which continues to happen or exist without stopping, it is better to use continual rather than continuous.

Life is a continual struggle.
It was sad to see her the victim of continual pain.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.continual - occurring without interruption; chiefly restricted to what recurs regularly or frequently in a prolonged and closely spaced series; "the continual banging of the shutters"
sporadic - recurring in scattered and irregular or unpredictable instances; "a city subjected to sporadic bombing raids"
2.continual - `continual' (meaning seemingly uninterrupted) is often used interchangeably with `continuous' (meaning without interruption)
continuous, uninterrupted - continuing in time or space without interruption; "a continuous rearrangement of electrons in the solar atoms results in the emission of light"- James Jeans; "a continuous bout of illness lasting six months"; "lived in continuous fear"; "a continuous row of warehouses"; "a continuous line has no gaps or breaks in it"; "moving midweek holidays to the nearest Monday or Friday allows uninterrupted work weeks"


2. frequent, regular, repeated, repetitive, recurrent, oft-repeated She suffered continual police harassment.
frequent occasional, irregular, periodic, sporadic, intermittent, infrequent, spasmodic


مُتَواصِلمُتَواصِل، مُتَتابِع
sífelldur, síendurtekinn
liên tục


[kənˈtɪnjʊəl] ADJ (= continuous) → continuo; (= persistent) → constante


[kənˈtɪnjʊəl] adj [use] → continuel(le); [process, improvement] → continuel(le); [pressure, demands, pain] → continuel(le)


adj (= frequent)dauernd, ständig; (= unceasing)ununterbrochen, pausenlos


[kənˈtɪnjʊəl] adjcontinuo/a


(kənˈtinjuː) verb
1. to go on being, doing etc; to last or keep on. She continued to run; They continued running; He will continue in his present job; The noise continued for several hours; The road continues for 150 kilometres.
2. to go on (with) often after a break or pause. He continued his talk after the interval; This story is continued on p.53.
conˈtinual adjective
very frequent; repeated many times. continual interruptions.
conˈtinually adverb
conˌtinuˈation noun
1. the act of continuing, often after a break or pause. the continuation of his studies.
2. something which carries on, especially a further part of a story etc. This is a continuation of what he said last week.
ˌcontiˈnuity (kon-) noun
1. the state of being continuous or logically related. It is important to children to have some continuity in their education.
2. the detailed arrangement of the parts of a story etc for a film script etc.
a continuity girl.
conˈtinuous adjective
joined together, or going on, without interruption. a continuous series; continuous rain; continuous movement.
conˈtinuously adverb
It rained continuously all day.

continual means frequent, again and again.
continuous means non-stop, without interruption.


مُتَواصِل neustálý vedvarende ununterbrochen συχνός continuo jatkuva continuel neprekidan continuo 継続的な 연속적인 aanhoudend ustanselig ciągły contínuo постоянный ständig ต่อเนื่อง sürekli liên tục 连续的


adj continuo, habitual
References in classic literature ?
The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights.
Conflicting moral codes have been no more than the conflicting weapons of different classes of men; for in mankind there is a continual war between the powerful, the noble, the strong, and the well-constituted on the one side, and the impotent, the mean, the weak, and the ill-constituted on the other.
We will add this in general, touching the affection of envy; that of all other affections, it is the most importune and continual. For of other affections, there is occasion given, but now and then; and therefore it was well said, Invidia festos dies non agit: for it is ever working upon some or other.
These people are under continual disquietudes, never enjoying a minutes peace of mind; and their disturbances proceed from causes which very little affect the rest of mortals.
But, as before hinted, for some time there was a continual fetching and carrying on board of divers odds and ends of things, both large and small.
They lose their way, are in continual apprehensions of the Galles.
If we should wish to retreat, how ought we to pursue?" And he would set forth to them, as he went, all the chances that could befall an army; he would listen to their opinion and state his, confirming it with reasons, so that by these continual discussions there could never arise, in time of war, any unexpected circumstances that he could not deal with.
Pierre during the last two years, as a result of his continual absorption in abstract interests and his sincere contempt for all else, had acquired in his wife's circle, which did not interest him, that air of unconcern, indifference, and benevolence toward all, which cannot be acquired artificially and therefore inspires involuntary respect.
It did not seem particularly unpleasant, because his whole life had been not a continual holiday, but on the contrary an unceasing round of toil of which he was beginning to feel weary.
There was, as it were, a continual beginning, a preparation of the musical expression of some feeling, but it fell to pieces again directly, breaking into new musical motives, or simply nothing but the whims of the composer, exceedingly complex but disconnected sounds.
Her nerves were under continual irritation and suffering; and by the ten days' end, her nephew's letter to Randalls communicated a change of plan.
Continual engagements at home and abroad, however, supplied all the deficiencies of nature and education; supported the good spirits of Sir John, and gave exercise to the good breeding of his wife.