in·​stant·​ly | \ˈin(t)-stənt-lē \

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

The architects started by installing pale wood floors and painting the walls all white, which instantly give the space a sense of expansiveness. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "400-year-old skinny house renovated into ‘one-room hotel’," 12 Nov. 2018 Jeff Bottari / Getty Images for Variety Tomorrow is Election Day, and on the eve of voting, peer-pressure apps like OutVote and VoteWithMe are making it easy to instantly snoop on the voting history of friends, family and strangers. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Viral game-show app HQ Trivia faces some existential questions," 5 Nov. 2018 This was going to be the mother of all free-agent classes, the one leaving baseball executives salivating, knowing that a checkbook alone could instantly turn around the fate of their franchise. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "MLB's great free agent class of 2018 limping toward finish line," 11 June 2018 The idea, which came to nothing, was that Comcast and Charter would each own half of Sprint, instantly turning the cable guys into major wireless providers. Hiawatha Bray,, "T-Mobile-Sprint, the sequel, is a dud," 30 Apr. 2018 Near instantly, Harper's remarkable work has turned her into one of the world's leading mystery authors. Randy Dotinga, The Christian Science Monitor, "Author Jane Harper makes Australia a full-fledged character in 'The Dry'," 15 Mar. 2018 Instead, something about the alchemy of its setting and the style of its play instantly feels arresting. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "Into the Breach Makes Defeat Feel Deeply Satisfying," 13 Mar. 2018 Stallworth can instantly switch between dialects, something many people of color might find familiar. Sonia Rao,, "'What's up with that white voice?': The tricky art of linguistic code-switching," 14 July 2018 Dana Jones walked into the Valparaiso Applebee’s and instantly spotted Lee Gudeman. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Choking victim reunites with lifesaver nurse at Valparaiso restaurant: 'Because of you, I'm still alive'," 3 July 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

18 Nov 2018

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 \

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).


noxious or harmful

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