instant

noun
in·​stant | \ ˈin(t)-stənt How to pronounce instant (audio) \

Definition of instant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an infinitesimal space of time especially : a point in time separating two states at the instant of death
2 : the present or current month

instant

adjective

Definition of instant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : produced or occurring with or as if with extreme rapidity and ease
2 : immediate, direct the play was an instant success
3a(1) : premixed or precooked for easy final preparation instant pudding
(2) : appearing in or as if in ready-to-use form instant poetry
b : immediately soluble in water instant coffee
4a : present, current previous felonies not related to the instant crime
b : of or occurring in the present month abbreviation inst

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Other Words from instant

Adjective

instantness noun

Examples of instant in a Sentence

Noun

For an instant, I forgot where I was. The ride was over in an instant.

Adjective

The movie was an instant hit. He became an instant celebrity with the publication of his first novel. We got an instant response from the company. The Internet provides instant access to an enormous amount of information. Is this coffee instant or regular?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In an instant, the prospect of a catastrophic war in the Middle East seemed to recede dramatically. Ben Wedeman, CNN, "Bolton bolts and Iran war fever suddenly drops," 12 Sep. 2019 The English colonies were expanding and the captives supplied them with an instant and distinguishable work force. National Geographic, "400 years ago, enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia," 13 Aug. 2019 The show’s success made the Tasmania native an instant and unlikely celebrity; pop culture’s premier autistic Antipodean lesbian, suddenly an ingenue at 40. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Hannah Gadsby brings her shrewd discomfort comedy to new show Douglas," 26 July 2019 When flying the flag at half-staff, first hoist it to the peak for an instant and then lower to the half-staff position. Rebecca Deczynski, Good Housekeeping, "The Proper Etiquette for Flying the American Flag, Including on Memorial Day," 10 May 2019 But very occasionally, the earthbound equivalent of a lightning strike occurs, and something remarkable appears in an instant. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "This Centuries-Old Geoduck Shell May Rewrite the Rules About Who Can Harvest the Fancy Clam," 27 Aug. 2019 From then on, all the way to the G.O.P. nomination, Trump met outrage with umbrage and trailed for only an instant. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "Don’t Worry About the Democratic Presidential Polls," 29 July 2019 The shoes, which James debuted last fall, became an instant hit with fans. Troy L. Smith, cleveland.com, "Nike giving away special LeBron James 'Equality' sneakers," 27 Feb. 2018 In short, his Barcelona career looks to have come and gone in an instant. SI.com, "Malcom: What Could Have Been for the Barcelona Flop," 2 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The clash between patrons of a dive gay bar, the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, and police on June 28, 1969, was buried inside the New York Times but was the instant talk of New York’s big gay population, a disparate but cohesive community. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Time for a Riot: Camp Fashion at the Met, and a Real Riot at the Stonewall," 31 Aug. 2019 Feel free to join in on the banter, catch up on the score or just enjoy the instant analysis. Chase Michaelson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football live blog vs. Tulsa: Join conversation at 7 tonight," 30 Aug. 2019 Our society of instant gratification –mindful of existential threats like climate change, nuclear war, and killer planets that somehow avoid notice, weighed in quickly on Twitter. Cicero Estrella, The Mercury News, "Director Richard Linklater plans to take 20 years to shoot musical ‘Merrily We Roll Along’," 29 Aug. 2019 The draw to instant gratification is so prevalent these days. Richard Obert, azcentral, "As national high school sports participation declines, AIA set to allow freshman/sophomore teams across sports," 28 Aug. 2019 The French heritage brand, whose cult Lotion P50 has garnered fans such as Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt and Sharon Stone, is known for its instant tightening and brightening face and body treatments. Rachel Marlowe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Beauty Inside Out: Nicole Kidman-Approved Hair Oil, On-Demand Hollywood Beauty Treatments," 23 Aug. 2019 Sunday Riley’s antioxidant-rich, vegan face oil combines nine different cold-press superfood oils (ranging from blueberries to broccoli) to give your skin an instant glow. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "The Sunday Riley Juno Oil Drew Barrymore Swears By Is On Sale at Dermstore Right Now," 20 Aug. 2019 There are many complaints about modern dating: Apps have created chaos, and the need for instant gratification. Jenna Birch, Washington Post, "Daters discard one another so quickly. Could this experiment help people commit?," 6 Aug. 2019 Texts and instant messages became a much better way to communicate with family and friends than email. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Work Ruined Email," 2 Aug. 2019

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for instant

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin instant-, instans, from instant-, instans, adjective, instant, from Latin

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin instant-, instans, from present participle of instare to stand upon, urge, from in- + stare to stand — more at stand

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Statistics for instant

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instant

The first known use of instant was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for instant

instant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of instant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very short period of time

instant

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of instant (Entry 2 of 2)

: becoming something very quickly
: happening or done without delay
of food : able to be made very quickly : partially prepared by the manufacturer so that final preparation is quick and easy

instant

noun
in·​stant | \ ˈin-stənt How to pronounce instant (audio) \

Kids Definition of instant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very short time : moment I'll be back in an instant.

instant

adjective

Kids Definition of instant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : happening or done right away The play was an instant success.
2 : partially prepared by the manufacturer to make final preparation easy instant pudding

instant

adjective
in·​stant

Legal Definition of instant

: being under present consideration the questions presented in the instant case

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More from Merriam-Webster on instant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for instant

Spanish Central: Translation of instant

Nglish: Translation of instant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on instant

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