instead of


in·​stead of in-ˈste-də(v) How to pronounce instead of (audio)
: in place of : as a substitute for or alternative to
chose tea instead of coffee

Word History


Middle English in sted of

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of instead of was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near instead of

Cite this Entry

“Instead of.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

instead of

: in place of : as a substitute for
had milk instead of juice

More from Merriam-Webster on instead of

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?