Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An almost imperceptible space of time. See Synonyms at moment.
  • n. A particular or precise time: at the instant of combustion.
  • n. The current month: your letter of the 15th instant.
  • n. A food or beverage designed for quick preparation.
  • adj. Occurring at once; immediate: instant gratification.
  • adj. Imperative; urgent: an instant need.
  • adj. Now under consideration; present.
  • adj. Commercially prepared or processed for quick and easy final preparation: an instant cake mix.
  • adj. Readily soluble in water: instant coffee; instant powdered milk.
  • adj. Appearing, done, or taking place with or as if with maximum quickness and ease: "She had the gift of instant intimacy” ( Sylvia Jukes Morris).
  • adv. At once; instantly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A very short period of time; a moment.
  • n. A single, usually precise, point in time.
  • n. An instant beverage or food, especially instant coffee.
  • n. The current month (abbreviated as: inst.)
  • adj. Impending; imminent.
  • adj. Urgent; pressing; acute.
  • adj. Occurring immediately; immediate; present.
  • adj. Lasting for a short moment; momentary; short-lived.
  • adj. Very quickly and easily prepared (food or drink), for example instant coffee.
  • adj. Of the current month (abbreviation inst.)
  • adv. At once; immediately.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pressing; urgent; importunate; earnest.
  • adj. Closely pressing or impending in respect to time; not deferred; immediate; without delay.
  • adj. Present; current.
  • adv. Instantly.
  • n. A point in time; a moment; a portion of time too short to be estimated; also, any particular moment.
  • n. A day of the present or current month. See Instant, a., 3.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Present; current; now passing: as, on the 8th of June instant; the 10th instant (that is, the 10th day “in the present month,” Latin instante mense).
  • Immediate; with no interval of time intervening; instantaneous.
  • Immediate in succession; very next.
  • Insistent; urgent; earnest; pressing.
  • n. A particular point of time regarded as present.
  • n. A point in duration; a moment; a very small period or interval of time: as, he will return in an instant.
  • n. Application; instance.
  • n. Synonyms Minute, etc. See moment.
  • Instantly; very soon.
  • To importune; urge.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a very short time (as the time it takes the eye to blink or the heart to beat)
  • adj. demanding attention
  • adj. in or of the present month
  • n. a particular point in time
  • adj. occurring with no delay

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin īnstāns, īnstant-, present, present participle of īnstāre, to approach : in-, on; see in-2 + stāre, to stand; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English instant ("infinitely short period of time"), from Old French instant ("assiduous, at hand", a), from Latin instans, instant- ("present, pressing, urgent", literally "standing near"), from in + stāre ("to stand"). Compare Old English instede ("immediately, on the spot, at once"). More at in, stand. (Wiktionary)
From Old French and French instant, from Latin instans ("standing by, being near, present, also urgent, importunate"), present participle of instare ("to stand upon, press upon, urge, pursue, insist"), from in ("on, upon") + stare ("to stand"); see state. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the context of essence mahamudra, “enlightenment in an instant” uses the term instant in both meanings: the final moment that completes the path.

    Commentary on An Aspiration Prayer for the Definitive Meaning of Mahamudra ��� 3 Meditation Practice

  • He was an explosive scorer in Bloomington and the term instant offense comes to mind, although I'd like to see him work on his ballhandling skills for a possible move to the point.

    MVN

  • On my person at this instant is a CKRT M-16-10kz (because I misplaced my Estwing) and a Leatherman Wave.

    Georgia Man In Boxers Kills Buck With A Stick

  • Mcdonald game label instant win (starcruises 3rd and 4th pax free)

    www.hardwarezone.com.sg

  • She REALLY needs to do a barista course, but instant is probably the best bet for highly strung “people on the go” not only because of the convenience but also cause of the high caffeine content of the robusta ‘bean’ which is basically the bean used for ‘instant’.

    Cheeseburger Gothic » Snip snip.

  • Technology has given us the means to indulge ourselves in instant gratification.

    Jeff Pollack: No, New Music Doesn't Suck

  • When these wineries create a good sweet blend and market it with a catchy name, it can result in instant brand loyalty among its drinkers.

    Niagara Escarpment Wines

  • Carbon dating, thermoluminesce, finger printing (and I repeat I know of NOT ONE case where that has been used successfully to prove an attribution) are basically an American approach to scientifically quantify connoisseurship, to make up in instant numbers and tests what experts have spent their entire life developing.

    New da Vinci Discovered Thanks to Hunch and A Fingerprint » E-Mail

  • I think assulting a cop should be a serious crime but Cops betraying the trust of the public -- who pay their salaries by the way -- should result in instant suspension, followed by certain dismissal and serious criminal charges if they are found guilty.

    Time to Stop Police Violence

  • Frona yielded, in instant recognition, and waiting, snuggled more closely to him.

    CHAPTER 17

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