early 15c., "uninterrupted connection of parts in space or time," from Old French continuité, from Latin continuitatem (nominative continuitas) "a connected series," from continuus "joining, connecting with something; following one after another," from continere (intransitive) "to be uninterrupted," literally "to hang together" (see contain).
Cinematographic sense, in reference to assuring there are no discrepancies of detail in linked scenes filmed at different times, is recorded by 1919, American English. It was originally especially women's work.
The scenario,—that is the division of the synopsis into scenes from which the picture is made—is written by men and women specially trained for the work. Women are as successful, perhaps more so, in this line than men. The average price for an original motion picture synopsis is from $500 to $1500, but the price may be higher or lower according to the company and the value of the author's name. ... Continuity writers or those who divide the story into the scenes (continuity and scenario being different names for the same thing) are specially well paid. [Helen Christene Hoerle and Florence B. Saltzberg, "The Girl and the Job," New York, 1919]
"interruption of continuity, separation of parts which form a connected series," 1610s, from French discontinuation (14c.), from Medieval Latin discontinuationem (nominative discontinuatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of discontinuare (see discontinue (v.)).
1650s, "condition of flowing," a sense now rare or obsolete, from Latin currens, present participle of currere "to run" (from PIE root *kers- "to run"). The notion of "state or fact of flowing from person to person" led to the senses "continuity in public knowledge" (1722) and "that which is current as a medium of exchange, money" (1729).
"characterized by continuity, not affected by disconnection or interruption," 1640s, from French continueus or directly from Latin continuus "joining, connecting with something; following one after another," from continere (intransitive) "to be uninterrupted," literally "to hang together" (see contain). Related: Continuously; continuousness.
"quality or state of endless duration, continued uninterrupted existence for an indefinite period of time," late 14c., perpetuite, from Old French perpetuité "permanence, duration" (13c., Modern French perpétuité) and directly from Latin perpetuitatem (nominative perpetuitas) "uninterrupted duration, continuity, continuous succession," from perpetuus (see perpetual).
1580s, "sudden, unceremonious, without notice," a figurative use from Latin abruptus "broken off," also "precipitous, steep" (as a cliff), also "disconnected," past participle of abrumpere "break off," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rumpere "to break," from a nasalized form of the PIE root *runp- "to snatch" (see corrupt (adj.)). The literal sense "broken off or appearing as if broken off" is from c. 1600 in English. Of writing, "having sudden transitions, lacking continuity," 1630s. Related: Abruptly; abruptness.
1530s, "act of receding or going back or away" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin recessus "a going back, retreat," from recessum, past participle of recedere "to go back, fall back; withdraw, depart, retire," from re- "back" (see re-) + cedere "to go" (from PIE root *ked- "to go, yield").
Meaning "hidden or remote part" is recorded from 1610s; that of "period of stopping from usual work" is from 1620s, probably from parliamentary notion of "recessing" into private chambers. Meaning "place of retirement or seclusion" is from 1630s; that of "niche, receding space or inward indentation in a line of continuity" is from 1690s.
punctuation mark, 1520s as a Latin word, nativized by 1590s, from Latin comma "short phrase or clause of a sentence or line of poetry," from Greek komma "clause in a sentence," also ""stamp, coinage," literally "piece which is cut off," from koptein "to strike, smite, cut off; disable, tire out," which is perhaps from PIE root *kop- "to beat, strike, smite" (see hatchet (n.)), or perhaps Pre-Greek.
Like colon (n.1) and period it was originally a Greek rhetorical term for a part of a sentence, and like them it has been transferred to the punctuation mark that identifies it. In reading aloud the punctuation mark is used to admit small interruptions in continuity of speech for the sake of clarity, but its purpose is to indicate grammatical structure.