instant

1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

adjective

1
: produced or occurring with or as if with extreme rapidity and ease
2
: immediate, direct
the play was an instant success
3
a(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
4
a
: present, current
previous felonies not related to the instant crime
b
: of or occurring in the present month
abbreviation inst
5
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 an instant, four of the top players in the league all called Los Angeles their home. Iliana Limón Romero, Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2024 Colorado State, in one instant about to change the complexion of the conference stretch run, missed its last 10 shots and hit just one of its final 19. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Feb. 2024 This project is an allegory of the relationship between instant photography and A.I.: Polaroid images, when they were first invented, were mainly used to capture instant, not reproducible moments. Caterina De Biasio, Vogue, 8 Feb. 2024 The show was an instant hit and ended up winning Outstanding Comedy Series five years in a row from 2010 to 2014. Keith Langston, EW.com, 16 Jan. 2024 Safer himself jumps over the footlights and joins in—turning from watcher to dancer in an instant. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2024 Find it on Amazon The Quickest Way to Switch Up Your Chairs These Chair Covers have a smooth and sophisticated look that can change the style and color scheme of the room in an instant. Hannah Rice, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2024 But how on earth could anyone with the Warriors be expected to play a game after watching their coach, mentor, and friend — a man who was so full of life — die in what was seemingly an instant? Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 22 Jan. 2024 Some of the items include Quaker Chewy granola bars; Cap’n Crunch Treat cereal bars; Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal; Cap’n Crunch instant oatmeal; Gatorade protein bars; and Munchies snack mix. Ashia Aubourg, SELF, 12 Jan. 2024
Adjective
These Watermelon Dew Drops provide an instant glow while hydrating and smoothing your skin with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Mia Meltzer, Rolling Stone, 23 Feb. 2024 The 67-year-old man, who chose to remain anonymous, won one of the VIP Millions instant game's three top prizes, according to the Michigan Lottery. Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press, 23 Feb. 2024 The store also has a hot water dispenser for making tea and instant cup noodles and an outdoor patio seating area for customers. Haadiza Ogwude, The Enquirer, 23 Feb. 2024 Meetings become goldmines when AI whips up instant takeaways, transcribes conversations and offers personalized recommendations, pointing out areas for improvement. Oleh Kurtianyk, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 The three-person lottery club from Ottawa County won $6 million playing the Michigan Lottery's 500X Money Maker instant game. USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 How Montford Point Marines trained and served Compliance with Roosevelt’s order didn’t necessarily mean instant acceptance for Black men who joined the Marines. Graham Womack, Sacramento Bee, 22 Feb. 2024 Get The Recipe 36 of 42 Dirt Pudding If you've been charged with bringing dessert for the kids, this whimsical instant pudding and Oreo confection is sure to delight them. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 12 Feb. 2024 The international casting is tremendous, topped by Sanada, who serves as a producer in addition to his capacity as a source of instant authority and enigmatic, underplayed intelligence. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'instant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, "moment, point of time," borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Medieval Latin instant-, instans, noun derivative of Late Latin instant-, instans, adjective, "present, current" — more at instant entry 2

Adjective

Middle English, "of the present moment, immediate, urgent," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin instant-, instans "pressing, urgent" (Late Latin also "present, current"), from present participle of instō, instāre "to set foot on, take up a stand, press in a hostile manner, loom, be upon one, be urgent," from in- in- entry 2 + stāre "to stand" — more at stand entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

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

Dictionary Entries Near instant

Cite this Entry

“Instant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/instant. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

instant

1 of 2 noun
in·​stant ˈin(t)-stənt How to pronounce instant (audio)
: a very small space of time : moment

instant

2 of 2 adjective
1
: pressing, urgent
in instant need
2
: happening or done at once
an instant response
3
: partially prepared by the manufacturer to make final preparation easy
instant pudding
especially : made to dissolve quickly in water
instant coffee

Legal Definition

instant

adjective
in·​stant
: being under present consideration
the questions presented in the instant case

More from Merriam-Webster on instant

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