continual


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 or recurrence; continuous, an uninterrupted continuity or union (as of objects, events, or parts)
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ensure a continual supply of provisions at regular intervals

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continual and regular impulses of pleasurable surprise from the metrical arrangement— Wordsworth

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analytic studies are continuous, and not to be pursued by fits and starts, or fragmentary efforts— De Quincey

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the continual suggestion of the landscape . . . entering . . . into the texture of continuous intelligent narration— Stevenson

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As applied to a single object, continual also stresses frequently the idea of going on indefinitely, though not without interruptions, in time rather than (like continuous) that of unbroken connection or substance; thus, continual industry implies that one is always at it; continuous labor, that the work itself is performed at a stretch
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he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast— Prov 15:15

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that dull and continuous burden of the sea heard inland before or after a great storm— J. R. Lowell

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Continuous refers to both time and space, continual only to time; thus, one may speak of a continuous (not continual) expanse, but of a continual (or continuous) noise
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humanism has been sporadic, but Christianity continuousT. S. Eliot

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Constant implies uniform, steady, or persistent occurrence or recurrence and usually connotes lack of change or variation (as in character, degree, or rate)
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constant throbbing of the engine

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such a career meant constant toil— Buchan

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unfortunately, perhaps, experience does not grow at a constant, but at an accelerated, rate— Krutch

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Incessant implies ceaseless or uninterrupted activity; unremitting, unceasing activity without slackening or halting; and perpetual (see also LASTING), unfailing repetition or lasting duration
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an incessant cough

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a life of unremitting toil

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perpetual colds

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sporadic outbursts are converted by the rationalization into purposive and unremitting activity— Huxley

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the perpetual fuel of controversy— Newman

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sins unatoned for and uncondoned bring purgatorial or perpetual torment after death— H. O. Taylor

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his incessant talking and shouting and bellowing of orders had been too much— London

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Perennial carries the implication of existence over an indeterminate number of years; especially in older use this idea may be stressed and that of exhaustlessness often connoted
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the perennial beauty and heroism of the homeliest human nature—J. R. Lowell

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the perennial feeling of silent worship— Carlyle

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In current use, probably because of the application of the term to plants that die down to the roots and spring up again seasonally over a number of years, the implication of continual recurrence or constant renewal is perhaps more common
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revolt is perennialLowes

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the perennial question of the relation between ought and is, of obligation and fact— Alexander

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Analogous words: unceasing, endless, interminable, *everlasting: eternal (see INFINITE): *lasting, permanent, perdurable
Antonyms: intermittent
Contrasted words: recurrent, periodic, alternate (see INTERMITTENT): *fitful, spasmodic

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 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… …   Longman 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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