- An example of instant is an answer received very quickly, an instant response.
- An example of instant is oatmeal that has been pre-cooked and dried for very quick cooking, instant oatmeal.
- soon to happen; imminent
- without delay; immediate: to demand instant obedience
- designating a food or beverage in readily soluble, concentrated, or precooked form, that can be prepared quickly, as by adding water
- Archaic urgent; pressing
- Archaic present; current
Origin of instantLate Middle English from Middle French from Classical Latin instans, present participle of instare, to stand upon or near, press from in-, in, upon + stare, to stand
- Old Poet. at once; instantly
- Old-fashioned (in the) present (month): yours of the 13th (day) instant received
- a point or very short space of time; moment
- a particular moment
on the instant
- A period of time so short as to be almost imperceptible. See Synonyms at moment.
- A particular or precise time: at the instant of combustion.
- Abbr. inst. The current month: your letter of the 15th instant.
- A food or beverage designed for quick preparation.
- Occurring at once; immediate: instant gratification.
- Imperative; urgent: an instant need.
- Now under consideration; present.
- a. Commercially prepared or processed for quick and easy final preparation: an instant cake mix.b. Appearing, done, or taking place with great quickness and ease: “She had the gift of instant intimacy” ( Sylvia Jukes Morris )c. Quickly and easily resolved or determined: instant lottery tickets.
Origin of instantMiddle 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.
From Middle English instant (“infinitely short period of time”), from Old French instant (“assiduous, at hand”, adj), 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.
- (poetic) At once; immediately.