Definition of continual adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kənˈtɪnjuəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kənˈtɪnjuəl//
    [only before noun]
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  1. 1repeated many times in a way that is annoying continual complaints/interruptions
  2. 2continuing without interruption synonym continuous He was in a continual process of rewriting his material. We lived in continual fear of being discovered. Her daughter was a continual source of delight to her. She kept the letter as a continual reminder of his kindness. Which Word?continuous / continualThese adjectives are frequently used with the following nouns: continuous process/​employment/​flow/​line/​speech/​supply continual change/​problems/​updating/​questions/​pain/​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.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French continuel, from continuer ‘continue’, from Latin continuare, from continuus ‘uninterrupted’, from continere ‘hang together’ (from con- ‘together with’ + tenere ‘hold’).Extra examples By each hive there was a continual coming and going of bees. He seemed to need continual reassurance. She was in continual pain. The body is in a continual state of chemical activity. The drivers had continual problems with mud on the road. The stretching involves slow, continual movement. There were continual arguments because he felt he was being treated unfairly. They are subjected to physical attacks and continual racist taunts. They have to live with the continual threat of terrorism. They live in continual fear.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: continual