linear continuum

Let X be a totally-ordered set under an order < having at least two distinct points. Then X is said to be a linear continuum if the following two conditions are satisfied:

  1. 1.

    The order relation < is a dense total order (i.e., for every x,yX with x<y there exists zX such that x<z<y).

  2. 2.

    Every non-empty subset of X that is bounded above has a least upper bound (i.e., X has the least upper bound property).

Some examples of ordered sets that are linear continua include , the set [0,1]×[0,1] in the dictionary order, and the so-called long line Ω×[0,1) in the dictionary topologyMathworldPlanetmath. (The third example is a special case of a general result on well-ordered sets and linear continua.)


If X is a well-ordered set, then the set X×[0,1) is a linear continua in the dictionary order topology.

Linear continua are of special interest when they are made into topological spaces under the order topology, and the following two establish some useful properties of such spaces:


If X is a linear continuum in the order topology, then X is and so are intervals in X.

As a corollary of the preceding , we obtain the result that is in its usual topology, as are the intervals [a,b] and (a,b), where a<b.


If X is a linear continuum in the order topology, then every closed interval in X is compactPlanetmathPlanetmath.


This is essentially a slightly generalized version of the Heine-Borel Theorem for , and the proof is almost identical. ∎

Title linear continuum
Canonical name LinearContinuum
Date of creation 2013-03-22 17:17:40
Last modified on 2013-03-22 17:17:40
Owner azdbacks4234 (14155)
Last modified by azdbacks4234 (14155)
Numerical id 11
Author azdbacks4234 (14155)
Entry type Definition
Classification msc 06F30
Classification msc 54B99
Related topic DenseTotalOrder
Related topic TotalOrder
Related topic SupremumPlanetmathPlanetmath
Related topic LowestUpperBound
Related topic OrderTopology
Related topic ASpaceIsConnectedUnderTheOrderedTopologyIfAndOnlyIfItIsALinearContinuum
Defines linear continuum