instant

noun
in·​stant | \ ˈin(t)-stənt How to pronounce instant (audio) \

Definition of instant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an infinitesimal space of time especially : a point in time separating two states at the instant of death
2 : the present or current month

instant

adjective

Definition of instant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : produced or occurring with or as if with extreme rapidity and ease
2 : immediate, direct the play was an instant success
3a(1) : premixed or precooked for easy final preparation instant pudding
(2) : appearing in or as if in ready-to-use form instant poetry
b : immediately soluble in water instant coffee
4a : present, current previous felonies not related to the instant crime
b : of or occurring in the present month abbreviation inst

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Other Words from instant

Adjective

instantness noun

Examples of instant in a Sentence

Noun

For an instant, I forgot where I was. The ride was over in an instant.

Adjective

The movie was an instant hit. He became an instant celebrity with the publication of his first novel. We got an instant response from the company. The Internet provides instant access to an enormous amount of information. Is this coffee instant or regular?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In that instant, with the congregants cheering her towards the altar, the Queen of Soul appears divine. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "In Amazing Grace, Aretha Franklin Reminds Us That Fashion Can Be Divine," 10 Apr. 2019 When flying at half-staff, hoist the flag to the peak for an instant then lower it to a position halfway between the top and bottom. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "American Flag Etiquette: Here's How to Properly Display the American Flag," 29 May 2018 The rollercoaster ride of a show was an instant hit, with viewers unable to get over the unnerving and thrilling plot and praising the acting (Oh won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Series, nbd). Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "8 TV Shows Like 'Killing Eve' to Binge If You Can't Wait for Season 2," 17 Jan. 2019 Canadian author Pierre Berton’s story about four kids searching for their baby brother was an instant hit when it was published in Canada in 1961. David Lyman, Detroit Free Press, "MOT's 2018-19 season includes 'Eugene Onegin,' 'Candide' and 'Grapes of Wrath'," 13 Apr. 2018 There was a loud crack, and in an instant where the glass had been was sky, and I was covered with a million tiny shards. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use a Torque Wrench to Keep Your Car from Flying Apart," 26 Feb. 2019 If the Cardinal tracks at the front of the store don’t tip you off, then the unusually large stock of the notoriously cheap, undergraduate dietary staple of instant Top Ramen should. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "This updated Kroger may be University of Louisville's biggest fan. It's coated in Cardinals," 25 Apr. 2018 The pork-laden beans are also very good, the cole slaw an above average rendition, the mac and cheese fair, a goopy, nostalgic comfort food version reminiscent of instant, with shell pasta, and the crinkly fries are uninspired. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "Nashville's destination dry ribs," 22 Feb. 2018 In that instant, the cave turned from a fun place to seek new things into a claustrophobic and confusing labyrinth. Chris Peterman, Ars Technica, "Risky Thailand cave rescue relied on talent, luck—and on sticking to the rules," 22 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Nothing like a little gold leaf and animal print to add instant personality! Elizabeth Pash, House Beautiful, "Why Louis XVI-Style Chairs Are a Must-Buy, No Matter Your Style," 26 Apr. 2019 Despite the fact that Jill was still in college and Joe was a senator with two children (and nine years Jill's senior), their connection was instant. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Why Jill Biden Might Just Be Joe Biden's Greatest Political Asset," 25 Apr. 2019 Fronted by the then-pint-sized wonder and brothers Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Jackie, the Jackson 5 was an instant sensation in 1969 and became the first phase of superstardom for the Jackson family. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Joe Jackson remembered as 'strong-willed' catalyst behind Gary's legendary musical family," 27 June 2018 But the fact that her response to the host became an instant sensation shows what a hunger many viewers had for a notable confrontation or politically-minded surprise in the season’s final red carpet. Sarah Seltzer, Cosmopolitan, "Ryan Seacrest Attempted "Business as Usual" on the E! Red Carpet. That's Why It Was So Bad.," 5 Mar. 2018 For Fall, instant recognition and readability took second seat to playful, graphic inventiveness. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "To Serif or Not to Serif? Designers Played With All Kinds of Lettering for Fall," 15 Apr. 2019 The hype supercharged the dot-com bubble of the 90s and launched the internet age, creating today’s world where founders became instant nouveau riche on the day of their company's IPO. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Later, Navigator: How Netscape Won and Then Lost the World Wide Web," 4 Apr. 2019 Roast until the internal temperature of pork on an instant read thermometer reaches 145°F, 10 to 15 minutes. Kate Merker, Country Living, "Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin With Roasted Fennel," 15 Mar. 2019 Blush isn't the only makeup product that gives your complexion an instant pick-me-up. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "The Best Bronzers for Every Skin Tone, According to Makeup Artists," 4 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of instant

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for instant

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin instant-, instans, from instant-, instans, adjective, instant, from Latin

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin instant-, instans, from present participle of instare to stand upon, urge, from in- + stare to stand — more at stand

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Learn More about instant

Statistics for instant

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instant

The first known use of instant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for instant

instant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of instant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very short period of time

instant

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of instant (Entry 2 of 2)

: becoming something very quickly
: happening or done without delay
of food : able to be made very quickly : partially prepared by the manufacturer so that final preparation is quick and easy

instant

noun
in·​stant | \ ˈin-stənt How to pronounce instant (audio) \

Kids Definition of instant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very short time : moment I'll be back in an instant.

instant

adjective

Kids Definition of instant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : happening or done right away The play was an instant success.
2 : partially prepared by the manufacturer to make final preparation easy instant pudding

instant

adjective
in·​stant

Legal Definition of instant

: being under present consideration the questions presented in the instant case

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More from Merriam-Webster on instant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for instant

Spanish Central: Translation of instant

Nglish: Translation of instant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on instant

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