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



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

Other Words from instant


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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun So grow his herbaceous plant and see how your pesto, homemade salad or tomato dishes will be enhanced in an instant. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, 28 June 2022 Davines’ lightweight wash delivers this fullness in an instant, and with a healthy, soft glow no less. Justin Fenner, Robb Report, 26 June 2022 Edith, for example, gets a meager handful of scenes to establish a full arc regarding her desire to go back to work, while Barrow seems to fall in love in an instant. Matthew Gilbert,, 16 June 2022 Losing by 27 never feels good, especially when its your first Kentucky-Indiana All-Star game, but in an instant, Powell saw something that brightened his mood. J.l. Kirven, The Courier-Journal, 11 June 2022 All of those achievements, though, are overshadowed in some ways by the 1989 accident in which the D.O.C., a.k.a. Tracy Curry, lost his voice — a tragedy that reshaped his life in an instant. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 10 June 2022 Today, utility and cargo vessels can be bought and sold in an instant, with their ultimate ownership effectively hidden in a nest of front companies. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 8 June 2022 The proposal becoming policy won’t magically change the field in an instant. Shane Khan, Fortune, 1 June 2022 In an instant, the dominant Dixon's hopes of securing a second Indy 500 title evaporated. Brian Haenchen, The Indianapolis Star, 29 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Pricing for a Disney+ subscription starts at just $7.99 a month and will include instant access to watch the original Doctor Strange online, as well as all of Disney+ slate of original shows, movies and exclusive offerings. Sage Anderson, Rolling Stone, 22 June 2022 The royal couple first met at a polo match in 1970, and were said to have an instant connection. Shafiq Najib,, 18 June 2022 Burnett, 89, recalled meeting Andrews in 1960 and finding an instant connection with the British actress with the golden singing voice. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 10 June 2022 When love, passion, lust, desire and/or devotion rule the jewels, there is an instant emotional connection that draws a devotee of the past into the depth and legends behind this type of jewelry. Beth Bernstein, Forbes, 8 June 2022 In this day of instant connection and information, or maybe especially in this day, stories can have a life of their own with unintended consequences that can last years – in this case, 70 of them. Cameron Knight, The Enquirer, 26 May 2022 This screen can safely mount on his car for instant access to CarPlay, Android Auto, Music, Maps, Messages and Calls. Mariah Thomas, Good Housekeeping, 14 Apr. 2022 Rachel, a 25-year-old pilot, was a strong presence throughout this past season of The Bachelor due to her instant deep connection with Clayton. Carrie Wittmer, Glamour, 16 Mar. 2022 Unable to secure fresh produce, many residents lived on instant noodles or rice porridge. Han Zhang, The New Yorker, 7 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of instant


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for instant


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


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

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Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Instant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for instant


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.



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



Legal Definition of instant

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

More from Merriam-Webster on instant

Nglish: Translation of instant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instant for Arabic Speakers


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