continual

adjective
1 continuing for a long time without stopping: five weeks of continual rain | The hostages lived in continual fear of violent death.
2 repeated often and over a long period of time; frequent: The continual trips to my mother's house took up a lot of my time.
3 used to describe actions that are repeated many times over a period of time and are annoying: I wish you'd stop that continual chattering!
- continually adverb: continually reassessing the situation USAGE NOTE: CONTINUAL WORD CHOICE: continual(ly), continuous(ly) Continual describes separate actions (often annoying actions you do not like) which are repeated over a period of time: These continual interruptions are driving me mad. | She's continually flying off to different places. Continuous especially describes things and events that go on without a break: The police formed a continuous line round the building. | This product is the result of years of continuous development. | We landed after flying continuously for 16 hours. The uses just described are regarded by many as the correct ones, but native speakers often use continuous(ly) also, like continual(ly), to describe repeated separate actions: There were continuous interruptions. As a result, continuous(ly) is much more frequent in spoken English. Where both might be used, continuous(ly) may carry less of the idea that the repeated action is annoying: It rained continuously all summer, which was good for the rice crop. Compare: It rained continually all summer, which completely spoiled our vacation.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

Synonyms:

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  • continual — continual, continuous, constant, incessant, unremitting, perpetual, perennial are comparable when meaning characterized by continued occurrence or recurrence over a relatively long period of time. Continual implies a close or unceasing succession …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • continual — continual, continuous 1. Continual is the older word (14c), and once had all the meanings it now (since the mid 19c) shares with continuous (17c). Fowler (1926) expressed the current distinction somewhat cryptically as follows: ‘That is al which… …   Modern English usage

  • Continual — Con*tin u*al, a. [OE. continuel, F. continuel. See {Continue}.] 1. Proceeding without interruption or cesstaion; continuous; unceasing; lasting; abiding. [1913 Webster] He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. Prov. xv. 15. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • continual — [kən tin′yo͞o əl] adj. [ME continuel < OFr < L continuus: see CONTINUE] 1. happening over and over again; repeated often; going on in rapid succession 2. going on uninterruptedly; continuous continually adv. SYN. CONTINUAL applies to that… …   English World dictionary

  • continual — early 14c., continuell, from O.Fr. continuel (12c.), from L. continuus (see CONTINUE (Cf. continue)). That which is continual is that which is either always going on or recurs at short intervals and never comes to an end; that which is CONTINUOUS …   Etymology dictionary

  • continual — I (connected) adjective constant, constantly recurring, continued, continuing, continuus, nonstop, of regular recurrence, perennial, persistent, proceeding without cessation, proceeding without interruption, regular, steadfast, steady, sustained …   Law dictionary

  • continual — [adj] constant, incessant aeonian, around the clock, ceaseless, connected, consecutive, continuous, dateless, endless, enduring, eternal, everlasting, frequent, interminable, oftrepeated, permanent, perpetual, persistent, persisting, recurrent,… …   New thesaurus

  • continual — ► ADJECTIVE 1) constantly or frequently occurring. 2) having no interruptions. DERIVATIVES continually adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • continual — con|tin|u|al [kənˈtınjuəl] adj [only before noun] 1.) continuing for a long time without stopping ▪ five weeks of continual rain ▪ the Japanese business philosophy of continual improvement 2.) repeated many times, often in a way that is harmful… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • continual — adjective a service disrupted by continual breakdowns Syn: frequent, repeated, recurrent, recurring, intermittent, regular Ant: occasional, sporadic •• continual, continuous Continual = frequently recurring; intermittent e.g.: And [the police… …   Thesaurus of popular words

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