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September 15, 2019

Word of the Day: Continual

1 CQ

Word of the Day : September 15, 2019

continual \kun-TIN-yoo-ul\ adjective


1 : continuing indefinitely in time without interruption

2 : recurring in steady usually rapid succession

Did You Know?

Since the mid-19th century, many grammarians have drawn a distinction between continual and continuous. Continual should only mean "occurring at regular intervals," they insist, whereas continuous should be used to mean "continuing without interruption." This distinction overlooks the fact that continual is the older word and was used with both meanings for centuries before continuous appeared on the scene. Today, continual is the more likely of the two to mean "recurring," but it also continues to be used, as it has been since the 14th century, with the meaning "continuing without interruption."

Aired September 15, 2019

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