instantaneous

adjective

in·​stan·​ta·​neous ˌin(t)-stən-ˈtā-nē-əs How to pronounce instantaneous (audio)
-nyəs
1
: done, occurring, or acting without any perceptible duration of time
death was instantaneous
2
: done without any delay being purposely introduced
took instantaneous corrective action
3
: occurring or present at a particular instant
instantaneous velocity
instantaneity
ˌin-ˌstan-tə-ˈnē-ə-tē How to pronounce instantaneous (audio)
ˌin(t)-stən-tə-ˈnē-
noun
instantaneously adverb
instantaneousness noun

Examples of instantaneous in a Sentence

We got an almost instantaneous response from the company. the thunder following the flash of lightning was nearly instantaneous
Recent Examples on the Web Their chemistry between Sarah, a screenwriter for Lena Dunham’s Girls, and Aaron, a TV and film producer, was instantaneous. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 8 Feb. 2024 The setup process was almost instantaneous and the display recognizes my face immediately and consistently in testing. Sarah Lord, PCMAG, 5 Feb. 2024 Thanks to the speed, scale and design of our technological and media ecosystems, trash talk — in the form of incivility — has never had a wider or more instantaneous reach. Greg Hanlon, Peoplemag, 21 Dec. 2023 Tennessee inmate on death row for 28 years fights for his freedom Lethal injection was seen as a more humane form of execution that would lead to instantaneous death, Zivot said. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 24 Jan. 2024 As these thoughts passed through my mind, a nightmare vision came to me, complete and instantaneous. Yael Goldstein-Love, New York Times, 9 Sep. 2023 In the Honda, Kia, and Hyundai, the instantaneous fuel economy was either at zero or 25 mpg (10 L/100 km). Evan Williams, Ars Technica, 15 Aug. 2023 The series follows Banerjee's legacy, which was shrouded in greed, scandal and murder as a result of the competition spawned from the strip club's instantaneous success throughout the early 1980s. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 16 Jan. 2024 In either, breaching the bubble can bring death to those inside—a demise that is instantaneous at the extreme pressures of the deep sea, but usually far more gradual in space via the slow leakage of precious air. Rick N. Tumlinson, Scientific American, 15 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'instantaneous.' 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

borrowed from Medieval Latin instantāneus, from instant-, instans "moment, point of time," + Latin -āneus, suffix forming adjectives from temporal adverbs — more at instant entry 1

Note: Regarding the suffix -āneus see the etymology and note at spontaneous.

First Known Use

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of instantaneous was in 1651

Dictionary Entries Near instantaneous

Cite this Entry

“Instantaneous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/instantaneous. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

instantaneous

adjective
in·​stan·​ta·​neous ˌin(t)-stən-ˈtā-nē-əs How to pronounce instantaneous (audio)
-nyəs
1
: happening in an instant
2
: done without delay
instantaneously adverb
instantaneousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on instantaneous

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