in·​stant·​ly | \ ˈin(t)-stənt-lē How to pronounce instantly (audio) \

Definition of instantly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : with importunity : urgently
2 : without the least delay : immediately



Definition of instantly (Entry 2 of 2)

: as soon as he ran across the grass instantly he perceived his mother— W. M. Thackeray

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Examples of instantly in a Sentence


His voice is instantly recognizable. They instantly fell in love. She was killed instantly when her car hit a tree.


we realized there would be problems instantly we saw the final report
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Banner was killed—instantly, if not soon after—when his car drove underneath the trailer and the Tesla's entire roof was torn off at 68 mph. Clifford Atiyeh, Car and Driver, "Yes, Autopilot Was On in the Tesla Model 3 Crash in March, NTSB Report Confirms," 16 May 2019 Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Seurat—but his style is instantly recognizable, even to the casual, untrained observer. Jeffrey Bauman, ELLE Decor, "This Toulouse-Lautrec Exhibition Will Change the Way You Look at Social Media," 5 Apr. 2019 Lana Del Rey's go-to beauty look is arguably just as instantly recognizable as her melancholy bops. Marci Robin, Allure, "Lana Del Rey Posted a Bare-Faced Selfie and Fans Are Loving the Switch-Up," 15 Sep. 2018 An event that may have otherwise gone unnoticed instantly became a story by virtue of its existence online. David Bauder, The Seattle Times, "Some journalists wonder if their profession is tweet-crazy," 29 Jan. 2019 In the weeks that followed, he would be joined by coaches, analysts and researchers across the U.S. and Europe in trying to crack what has instantly become the sport’s biggest mystery: In or out? Brian Costa, WSJ, "Golf’s New Conundrum: Flagstick In or Out?," 24 Jan. 2019 Such tools could improve the ability to make credit available instantly, helping shoppers and retailers, said Carol Juel, Synchrony chief information officer. Becky Yerak, WSJ, "AI Helps Auto-Loan Company Handle Industry’s Trickiest Turn," 3 Jan. 2019 Ah, linoleum—the instantly recognizable material of your grandmother's not-renovated-since-the-'50s kitchen and the bane of renovators everywhere. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "Linoleum Is Making One Surprisingly Chic Comeback," 25 Feb. 2019 Even though the narrator rebuffs Milkman’s advances, word instantly goes around of their illicit assignations and her loose morals. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Critical Mass of Absurdist Misapprehensions," 30 Nov. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1793, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for instantly

Last Updated

20 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instantly

The first known use of instantly was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for instantly



English Language Learners Definition of instantly

: without delay


in·​stant·​ly | \ ˈin-stənt-lē How to pronounce instantly (audio) \

Kids Definition of instantly

: without delay : immediately

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Comments on instantly

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


a strong desire or propensity

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