The adjective continual describes something that's recurring, that happens again and again. If your pet wolf keeps up his continual howling all night, your neighbors will let you know about it.

Something continual doesn't seem to stop. Your continual nightmares about terrifying clowns occur night after night, and the continual interruptions of your adorable nephew while you're talking on the phone will probably seem less and less cute the longer they continue. The Latin root word is continuus, "uninterrupted," and if you're truly talking about something going on without pause, you'll want to use the word continuous instead.

Definitions of continual
  1. adjective
    occurring without interruption; chiefly restricted to what recurs regularly or frequently in a prolonged and closely spaced series
    “the continual banging of the shutters”
    insistent, repetitive
    repetitive and persistent
    continually repeated over a period of time
    perennial, recurrent, repeated
    recurring again and again
    persistent, relentless, unrelenting
    recurring, revenant
    coming back
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    recurring in scattered and irregular or unpredictable instances
    fitful, spasmodic
    occurring in spells and often abruptly
    stopping and starting at irregular intervals
    occasional, periodic
    recurring or reappearing from time to time
    irregular, unpredictable
    not occurring at expected times
    isolated, stray
    not close together in time
    discontinuous, noncontinuous
    not continuing without interruption in time or space
    not frequent; not occurring regularly or at short intervals
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  2. adjective
    `continual' (meaning seemingly uninterrupted) is often used interchangeably with `continuous' (meaning without interruption)
    continuous, uninterrupted
    continuing in time or space without interruption
Commonly confused words

continual / continuous

The words continual and continuous are like twins: they both come from continue, but they get mad if you get them confused. Continual means start and stop, while continuous means never-ending.

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Word Family

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