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 instantly iconic walk was then followed by a storm of silver confetti falling from the ceiling. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Laverne Cox Just Kicked Off NYFW With the Most Epic Runway Walk," 7 Feb. 2019 Then came the jarring news of Mr. Northam’s costume mishap and moonwalking incidents, which instantly converted him into a political untouchable deserted by everyone but his shadow. Dave Shiflett, WSJ, "Virginia’s Confederacy of Dunces," 7 Feb. 2019 Last Man Standing lovers, your Friday just got instantly better: The show is finally back! Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Last Man Standing' Will Show a Rare Reunion Tonight and Fans Are Losing It," 1 Feb. 2019 While Grey's fans were stoked to catch a glimpse of what's to come, many were instantly confused by the fact that Meredith was visiting her father. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Watch the Most Emotional 'Grey’s Anatomy' Scene So Far in Season 15," 31 Jan. 2019 At first, the prevailing story was that the crew had been killed instantly. Margaret Lazarus Dean, Popular Mechanics, "The Oral History of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster," 28 Jan. 2019 With Victoria and Tayla on either side of her, Ariana began singing the instantly iconic hit. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Almost Fell While Performing "Thank U, Next" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show," 7 Nov. 2018 The person who eventually automates the trucking industry is going to be responsible for millions of people being out of work, almost instantly. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "The Good Place Creator Michael Schur on How He Made Philosophy a Pop Culture Phenomenon," 6 Dec. 2018 Based on Cecily Von Ziegesar's bestselling YA series of the same name, the show was instantly a cultural phenomenon and the sole reason for a brief but intense resurgence of headbands. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "Every Single Episode of Gossip Girl, Ranked," 19 Sep. 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

11 Feb 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 \

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).


excited commotion or publicity

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