What does continent mean?

Definitions for continent
ˈkɒn tn əntcon·ti·nent

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word continent.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. continentnoun

    one of the large landmasses of the earth

    "there are seven continents"; "pioneers had to cross the continent on foot"

  2. Continentadjective

    the European mainland

    "Englishmen like to visit the Continent but they wouldn't like to live there"

  3. continentadjective

    having control over urination and defecation

  4. celibate, continentadjective

    abstaining from sexual intercourse

    "celibate priests"


  1. Continentnoun

    An Encratite.

  2. Continentnoun

    The Old World.

  3. Continentnoun

    Mainland Europe, as seen from the British Isles.

  4. Etymology: From continentem, noun use of present participle of continere.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. CONTINENTadjective

    Etymology: continens, Latin.

    Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
    As I am now unhappy. William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale.

    I pray you, have a continent forbearance, ’till the speed of his rage goes slower. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    The North-east part of Asia is, if not continent with the West side of America, yet certainly it is the least disjoined by sea of all that coast of Asia. Edward Brerewood, on Languages.

  2. Continentnoun

    Etymology: continens, Latin.

    Whether this portion of the world were rent,
    By the rude ocean, from the continent;
    Or thus created, it was sure design’d
    To be the sacred refuge of mankind. Edmund Waller.

    The declivity of rivers will be so much the less, and therefore the continents will be the less drained, and will gradually increase in humidity. Richard Bentley, Sermons.

    You shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    O cleave my sides!
    Heart, once be stronger than thy continent,
    Crack thy frail case. William Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra.

    Close pent-up guilts,
    Rive your contending continents. William Shakespeare, King Lear.


  1. Continent

    A continent is any of several large geographical regions. Continents are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, it could be a single landmass or a part of a very large landmass, as in the case of Asia or Europe. Due to this, the number of continents varies; up to seven or as few as four geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Most English-speaking countries recognize seven regions as continents. In order from largest to smallest in area, these seven regions are Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia. Different variations with fewer continents merge some of these regions, examples of this are merging North America and South America into America, Asia and Europe into Eurasia, and Africa, Asia, and Europe into Afro-Eurasia. Oceanic islands are frequently grouped with a nearby continent to divide all the world's land into geographical regions. Under this scheme, most of the island countries and territories in the Pacific Ocean are grouped together with the continent of Australia to form the geographical region Oceania.In geology, a continent is defined as "one of Earth's major landmasses, including both dry land and continental shelves". The geological continents correspond to seven large areas of continental crust that are found on the tectonic plates, but exclude small continental fragments such as Madagascar that are generally referred to as microcontinents. Continental crust is only known to exist on Earth.The idea of continental drift gained recognition in the 20th century. It postulates that the current continents formed from the breaking up of a supercontinent (Pangaea) that formed hundreds of millions of years ago.


  1. continent

    A continent is a large, continuous mass of land on Earth, typically separated by vast bodies of water. There are seven recognized continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. Each continent has its own distinct culture, climate, geographical features and ecosystem.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Continentadjective

    serving to restrain or limit; restraining; opposing

  2. Continentadjective

    exercising restraint as to the indulgence of desires or passions; temperate; moderate

  3. Continentadjective

    abstaining from sexual intercourse; exercising restraint upon the sexual appetite; esp., abstaining from illicit sexual intercourse; chaste

  4. Continentadjective

    not interrupted; connected; continuous; as, a continent fever

  5. Continentadjective

    that which contains anything; a receptacle

  6. Continentadjective

    one of the grand divisions of land on the globe; the main land; specifically (Phys. Geog.), a large body of land differing from an island, not merely in its size, but in its structure, which is that of a large basin bordered by mountain chains; as, the continent of North America

  7. Etymology: [L. continens, prop., a holding together: cf. F. continent. See Continent, a.]


  1. Continent

    A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth. They are generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, with up to seven regions commonly regarded as continents—they are: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia. In geology, continents are described by means of tectonic plates. Plate tectonics is the process and study of the movement, collision and division of continents, earlier known as continental drift.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Continent

    kon′ti-nent, n. a large extent of land not broken up by seas: the mainland of Europe: one of the great divisions of the land surface of the globe.—adj. restraining the indulgence of pleasure, esp. sexual: temperate: virtuous.—ns. Con′tinence, Con′tinency, the restraint imposed by a person upon his desires and passions: self-restraint in sexual indulgence, often absolute: chastity.—adj. Continent′al, characteristic of a continent, as of climate, &c.: pertaining to the European continent, or to the colonies of North America at the period of independence.—n. Continent′alism, anything peculiar to the usage of the Continent.—adv. Con′tinently.—Continental system, the name given to Napoleon's plan for shutting out England from all commercial connection with Europe. [L. continentemcontinēre, to contain—con, together, tenĕre, to hold.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. continent

    In geography, a large extent of land which is not entirely surrounded by water, or separated from other lands by the sea, as Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is also used in contradistinction to island, though America seems insulated.

Editors Contribution

  1. Continent

    A defined and known area of land.

    There are many continents in the world.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 23, 2020  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'continent' in Nouns Frequency: #1894

How to pronounce continent?

How to say continent in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of continent in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of continent in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of continent in a Sentence

  1. Chitto Harjo:

    Away back in that time-in 1492-there was a man by the name of Columbus came from across the great ocean, and he discovered the country for the white man. . . What did he find when he first arrived here Did he find a white man standing on the continent then . . . I stood here first, and Columbus first discovered me.

  2. Stuart Forrest:

    The biggest resources are in people's heads, there's a billion people on this continent who could all potentially be telling stories.

  3. Kurt Vonnegut: Breakfast of Champions:

    1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.

  4. Maren Morris:

    A few months earlier and a continent away the same was true in Manchester, England. The painful truth is that this year in just those two events, 81 music lovers, just like us, went out to a night of music and never came home, so, tonight, to honor those we lost, Eric, Brothers Osbourne and I, who all performed in Las Vegas that tragic weekend, want to come together and honor the memory of those music-loving souls so cruelly taken from us.

  5. Melissa Fleming:

    Every week we learn of more deaths and drownings on the Mediterranean route because the boats people are packed on are unseaworthy or overcrowded. Now we are hearing of cases of mass deaths along the land journey. This terrible tragedy shows the unscrupulous business of smugglers who have no regard for human life is extending across the continent.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for continent

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for continent »


Find a translation for the continent definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"continent." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 19 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/continent>.

Discuss these continent definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for continent? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    without the natural or usual covering
    A render
    B denudate
    C abhor
    D abduct

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for continent: