one of the main landmasses of the globe, usually reckoned as seven in number (Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, and Antarctica).
a comparable landmass on another planet.
the mainland, as distinguished from islands or peninsulas.
the mainland of Europe, as distinguished from the British Isles.
a continuous tract or extent, as of land.
Archaic. something that serves as a container or boundary.
exercising or characterized by restraint in relation to the desires or passions and especially to sexual desires; temperate.
able to control urinary and fecal discharge.
Obsolete, containing; being a container; capacious.
Obsolete. restraining or restrictive.
Obsolete. continuous; forming an uninterrupted tract, as land.

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin continent- (stem of continēns, present participle of continēre to contain), equivalent to con- con- + -tin-, combining form of ten- hold + -ent- -ent

uncontinent, adjective
uncontinently, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
continent1 (ˈkɒntɪnənt)
1.  one of the earth's large land masses (Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Antarctica)
2.  that part of the earth's crust that rises above the oceans and is composed of sialic rocks. Including the continental shelves, the continents occupy 30 per cent of the earth's surface
3.  obsolete
 a.  mainland as opposed to islands
 b.  a continuous extent of land
[C16: from the Latin phrase terra continens continuous land, from continēre; see contain]

continent2 (ˈkɒntɪnənt)
1.  able to control urination and defecation
2.  exercising self-restraint, esp from sexual activity; chaste
[C14: from Latin continent-, present participle of continēre; see contain]

Continent (ˈkɒntɪnənt)
the Continent the mainland of Europe as distinguished from the British Isles

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., adj., "self-restraining," from L. continentem (nom. continens), prp. of continere "hold together" (see contain). Meaning moved from "exercising self-restraint" to "chaste" 14c., and to bowel and bladder control 19c. The houn in the geographical sense is from
1550s, from continent land (mid-15c.), translating L. terra continens "continuous land" (see continue).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
continent   (kŏn'tə-nənt)  Pronunciation Key 
One of the seven great landmasses of the Earth. The continents are Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

continents definition

The large parts of the surface of the Earth that rise above sea level. The seven major continents are Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Note: Continents are made from the lightest rocks in the Earth. Some of these are also the oldest known rocks on Earth, with an age of 3.5 billion years, measured by radioactive dating.
Note: According to the theory of plate tectonics, continents move along piggy-back on the tectonic plates like rafts floating on water.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Our students come from around the corner and across continents.
As more and more companies move to the global marketplace, it is common for
  work teams to span continents and time zones.
Even if that is an over-statement, the broad difference between continents is
The impact may even have triggered plate-tectonic activity, which causes the
  continents to move around.
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