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Thread: Etymology of 'continent'?

  1. #1 Etymology of 'continent'? 
    Butter...IN SPACE!!!!!!
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Is the current etymology of 'continent' accurate? This is our current definition:a landmass separated from another landmass by sea. We currently recognize 7 continents:North America,South America,Asia,Europe,Africa,Australia,and Antarctica. But Europe and Asia are not separated. That's why some call it Eurasia. But Africa is connected to Eurasia by Arabia,making Eurasiafrica. Also,Antarctica is not a single landmass like it pretends to be. So if you want to consider Antarctica a continent,you have to make a few other islands continents,like Greenland. So let's see the plates that geologists have proposed. These are the Pacific Plate,the African Plate,the Eurasian Plate,the Antarctic Plate,the South American Plate,the North American Plate,the Arabian Plate,the Cocos Plate,the Caribbean Plate,the Indian Plate,the Juan de Fuca Plate,the Nazca Plate,the Philippine Sea Plate,the Scotia Plate,and the Indo-Australian Plate. The problem with this is that the Pacific Plate is mostly water,so you can't call it a continent,the North American plate includes part of Russia and about half of Japan,and many of these plates contain what can not be considered continents. So what should happen to the term 'continent'? Should it change,should it stay the same,or should it be disused entirely?

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  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Oh, I thought you meant etymology <disappointed> (But, as you asked ... it is related to continuous, from the Latin terra continens and, perhaps surprisingly, it is related to incontinence!).

    I will leave the geographers/geologists to argue about its current meaning. Except to note that it is quite OK for it to have more than one meaning, even if those meanings are contradictory.

    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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