If We Have ‘Continuously,’ Do We Need ‘Continually’?

Okay, I get it. If something happens continuously, then it never ceases. There’s no interruption. “The Mississippi River flows continuously.”

So how does continually distinguish itself from continuously to justify its existence?

My first thought was, “Okay, it happens repeatedly but not ceaselessly, like a dog barking each and every night.”

Partially right, except dictionary.com gives the second definition of continually as “without cessation or intermission; unceasingly; always.

I’ll continually be confused by the distinction, as in I’ll never stop being confused, but I won’t continuously think about it.

Huh?

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