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contiguous United States, continental United States, and CONUS

"Contiguous" means sharing a common border; "continental" means belonging to a continent. In its strictest sense, “contiguous United States” refers to the lower 48 states in North America (including the District of Columbia), and "continental United States" refers to 49 states (including Alaska and the District of Columbia). However, the terms are often confused and used inconsistently. Best to specify the meaning on first use of the phrase.

Follow the acronym rules if using CONUS, but specify which states the phrase covers on first mention.