in·​stan·​ta·​neous | \ˌin(t)-stən-ˈtā-nē-əs, -nyəs\

Definition of instantaneous 

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

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Other Words from instantaneous

instantaneity \ˌin-​ˌstan-​tə-​ˈnē-​ə-​tē, ˌin(t)-​stən-​tə-​ˈnē-​ \ noun
instantaneously \ˌin(t)-​stən-​ˈtā-​nē-​əs-​lē, -​nyəs-​lē \ 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

That’s why this is essentially an instantaneous but reversible effect. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Wind power makes the ground warmer even as it cools the planet," 7 Oct. 2018 Even states like Colorado, where the ballots must be in by Election Day, instantaneous results aren’t guaranteed. Rachel La Corte, The Seattle Times, "Want election results? On West Coast, patience is required," 9 Oct. 2018 His work is instantaneous commentary on the concrete utopia. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Concrete utopia," 12 July 2018 Semi-autonomous driving systems don’t possess the instantaneous flexible decision-making skills based on the intuition that humans have. Chuck Tannert, Popular Mechanics, "The Way We Talk About Self-Driving Cars Is Going To Get People Killed," 11 Apr. 2018 The approach assumes that instantaneous reactions require no reflection; as a result, unconscious parts of the personality come to the fore. Steve Ayan, Scientific American, "10 Things You Don’t Know About Yourself," 15 May 2018 While this disruption of the status quo is worth immense admiration, the instantaneous meme-ifying of Okoumou’s iconic climb immediately rendered her superhuman in the public arena. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Black Women Are Not Your Superheroes," 9 July 2018 Though applications like Google Translate are common and instantaneous tools for translating, Gabantxo says literary translation is an art with nuance and context that a computer cannot produce. Savannah Eadens,, "Translators' group brings international literature to Chicago," 27 June 2018 Jed Lowrie shot the final to Altuve, who began a 6-4-3 double play to lessen the instantaneous tension McCullers encountered. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Evan Gattis' strong night leads Astros to victory against Athletics," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instantaneous.' 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 instantaneous

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for instantaneous

Medieval Latin instantaneus, from instant-, instans, noun

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Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

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The first known use of instantaneous was in 1651

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English Language Learners Definition of instantaneous

: happening very quickly : happening in an instant


in·​stan·​ta·​neous | \ˌin-stən-ˈtā-nē-əs \

Kids Definition of instantaneous

: happening or done very quickly : happening in an instant an instantaneous reply

Other Words from instantaneous

instantaneously adverb

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Comments on instantaneous

What made you want to look up instantaneous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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