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[dis-kon-tn-oo-i-tee, -yoo-] /ˌdɪs kɒn tnˈu ɪ ti, -ˈyu-/
noun, plural discontinuities.
lack of continuity; irregularity:
The plot of the book was marred by discontinuity.
a break or gap:
The surface of the moon is characterized by major discontinuities.
Mathematics. a point at which a function is not continuous.
Geology. a zone deep within the earth where the velocity of earthquake waves changes radically.
Origin of discontinuity
1560-70; < Medieval Latin discontinuitās. See discontinuous, -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for discontinuity
  • If the staff are encouraging situations that she is not used to at home, perhaps she is reacting to the discontinuity.
  • There was a significant discontinuity, however, as halftime scores moved closer to a tie.
  • As a ball moves off a cliff there is no discontinuity in the energy it has, it has to actually fall in order to gain any energy.
  • With those he can attempt to explain the physical processes at work in the entire theory and the cause of the discontinuity.
  • My understanding is that a tipping point would infer a discontinuity in an otherwise continuous pattern.
  • The changes should be animated continuously as the slider dials are moved to avoid the discontinuity.
  • Other disciplines recognise that when a model is operating close to a discontinuity, the model must be modified appropriately.
  • In fact, the data show no such discontinuity: mortality changes smoothly with age.
  • And that means linking the past to the present in both continuity and discontinuity.
  • Emergence arises from a discontinuity of aggregation.
British Dictionary definitions for discontinuity


noun (pl) -ties
lack of rational connection or cohesion
a break or interruption
  1. the property of being discontinuous
  2. the point or the value of the variable at which a curve or function becomes discontinuous
  1. a zone within the earth where a sudden change in physical properties, such as the velocity of earthquake waves, occurs. Such a zone marks the boundary between the different layers of the earth, as between the core and mantle See also Mohorovičić discontinuity
  2. a surface separating rocks that are not continuous with each other
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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discontinuity in Science
  1. A usually uneven surface between two layers of rock or sediment that represents either an interruption in the deposition of the layers, as in an unconformity, or a displacement of one or both layers relative to each other, as in a fault.

  2. A surface within the Earth across which the velocities of seismic waves change. The discontinuities are located at the boundaries between the Earth's various layers and correspond to changes in the elastic properties of the Earth's materials.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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