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

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 None of these theories can really be tested yet because there's been one problem with studying fast radio bursts: Most of them are one and done, detected and then gone in an instant. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Repeating Radio Signals Are a Deep Space Mystery and Astronomers Just Found a Second One," 9 Jan. 2019 But my expectations of instant gratification also come at a cost, writes Jason Farman, a media-studies scholar at the University of Maryland. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘Delayed Response’ Review: A Better Way to Wait," 4 Dec. 2018 Making his first overtake on the race course as the two aircraft passed the start/finish pylon prompted Findlay to name his airplane One Moment in honor of that fleeting instant. Eric Tegler, Ars Technica, "400mph, 50 feet up—what it takes to race and win world’s fastest motorsport," 30 Aug. 2018 At that instant, Flynn’s arms apparently block his body cameras. Michael Gordon And Fred Clasen-kelly, charlotteobserver, "‘I don’t want to have to shoot you.’ New police video shows officer facing man with knife | Charlotte Observer," 2 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The small screen feeds instant gratification with flashiness... Nancy Macdonell, WSJ, "Is Wearing Black Boring? Not if You Consider Its Scandalous Past," 27 Feb. 2019 Since Twitter is irresistible to journalists who have the smart-aleck gene — probably the majority — a newsroom quip or instant observation is now writ large. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "Some journalists wonder if their profession is tweet-crazy," 29 Jan. 2019 Certain gods are seen as capable of dispensing instant justice by striking offenders with thunder and lightning. Sam Olukoya, Fox News, "In Nigeria, voodoo festival shows strength of traditions," 27 Sep. 2018 As the alum of a reality singing competition herself, Kelly Clarkson is no stranger to the emotional rollercoaster that comes along with instant fame. Alisa Wolfson, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson Reflects on Feeling 'Alone' After Winning 'American Idol'," 23 Dec. 2018 So is stupidity: Sub-idiotic behavior gets rewarded with instant YouTube fame. CBS News, "Carl Hiaasen's pep talk for grads: Assume the worst," 17 June 2018 Rather than capitalize on his instant fame, Curry returned to school for his junior season, was named first-team All-American and led the NCAA in scoring. Chris Chase, For The Win, "How the NBA's biggest stars fared in the NCAA tournament," 14 Mar. 2018 Mieuli’s shocking draft pick vaulted Long to instant national fame. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "The Warriors once drafted a woman to play in the NBA: Here’s her story," 9 Mar. 2018 As with nearly all instant classics, 10TIHAY also shot its young stars into the spotlight, putting these now–household names on the film map. Danny Murphy, Marie Claire, "Recasted: Who Should Star in a 10 Things I Hate About You Remake?," 23 Jan. 2019

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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Statistics for instant

Last Updated

20 Mar 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

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