Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Word of the Day 3/15/2011

Continual (adjective)

1: continuing indefinitely in time without interruption
2: recurring in steady usually rapid succession

Examples: The continual blaring of the car alarm outside made it very difficult for Jane to focus on her work that morning.

"The international community must help the Afghan government approach the task of empowering Afghan women as a continual process rather than as a single benchmark, for experience shows us that even legal equality does not translate into equal treatment." -- From an article by M. Ashraf Haidari in The Washington Times, March 9, 2010

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. The prescribed sense of "continuous" became established only in the 19th century, and it never succeeded in completely driving out the equivalent sense of "continual." 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."

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

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