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



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

Other Words from instant


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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the series, 4400 overlooked, undervalued or otherwise marginalized people who vanished without a trace over the last hundred years are all returned in an instant. Selome Hailu, Variety, 12 May 2022 In light of the spring season, Swisher partnered with HSN on a versatile collection of vibrant and richly-textured decor items that'll make your space stand out in an instant. Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 9 May 2022 In an instant, Hong Kong's social and political landscape was transformed, and within months, many of the city's leading pro-democracy figures were either in jail or exile. Jessie Yeung, CNN, 7 May 2022 In an instant, Sophia Furtado went from delivering a pizza to saving a life. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 5 May 2022 In an instant, Konstantinov’s pass went back to Kozlov, who fired from near the face-off dot and beat Shtalenkov low. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, 4 May 2022 Consider the best lip plumper as a handy salve to pump up the volume in an instant. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 3 May 2022 Almighty skating and sleight-of-hand playmaking can, in an instant, give way to manhandling opposing players. New York Times, 3 May 2022 In an instant, the disappointments of the post–Cold War decades are essentially forgotten. Andrew J. Bacevich, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Ashley also focused on her familial relationships and her instant bond with the co-star who plays her half-sister. NBC News, 11 Apr. 2022 For Brent, who had never been in a serious relationship before meeting Berkus at 26, their instant bond on their first date in 2012 was a welcome surprise. Mackenzie Schmidt,, 4 Feb. 2022 That breaks down a lot of barriers and creates an instant bond. Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2021 In a world that’s grown used to instant gratification and convenience, Egan’s life is a testament to the hard work and endurance that characterized early pioneers and settlers. David Sloan, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 When customers engage with their favorite brands, the common denominator with every interaction is the demand for instant gratification, regardless of the channel. Paul Jarman, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Time saved: Having pre-washed herbs at the ready offers instant gratification. Robin Miller, USA TODAY, 2 Apr. 2022 But the biggest hurdle may be adjusting the expectations of high-profile collectors accustomed to instant gratification. New York Times, 25 Mar. 2022 In steps Dean and Leal, two former five-star prospects who have the potential to make an instant impact. Baltimore Sun, 20 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of instant


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for instant


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


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

Learn More About instant

Time Traveler for instant

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near instant




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for instant

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Instant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for instant


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.



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



Legal Definition of instant

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

More from Merriam-Webster on instant

Nglish: Translation of instant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instant for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!