instant

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈɪnstənt/
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

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.

Noun[edit]

instant (plural instants)

  1. A very short period of time; a moment.
    She paused for only an instant, which was just enough time for John to change the subject.
    • 2021 November 3, Dr Joseph Brennan, “Boxes with functions across the centuries”, in RAIL, number 943, page 57, referring to the Tay Bridge disaster:
      "On receiving the baton, steam was again turned on, and the train passed on to the bridge... when the train had got about 200 yards from the cabin [in the signal box], he observed sparks flying from the wheels; and after they had continued about three minutes, there was a sudden bright flash of light, and in an instant there was total darkness, the tail lamps of the train, the sparks, and flash of light, all, he said disappearing at the same instant."
  2. A single, usually precise, point in time.
    The instant the alarm went off, he fled the building.
  3. A beverage or food which has been pre-processed to reduce preparation time, especially instant coffee.
  4. Ellipsis of instant camera..
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From French instant and Middle English instant, both from Old French, from Latin instans (standing by, being near, present, also urgent, importunate), present participle of instō (to stand upon, press upon, urge, pursue, insist), from in (on, upon) + stō (to stand); see state.

Adjective[edit]

instant (not comparable)

  1. (dated) Impending; imminent.
    Synonyms: pending, proximate; see also Thesaurus:impending
    • 1703, Matthew Prior, an Ode to Colonel George Villiers
      Impending death is thine, and instant doom.
  2. (dated) Urgent; pressing; acute.
  3. (dated) Insistent; persistent.
    Synonyms: exigent, imperious; see also Thesaurus:urgent
  4. (law) Present; current; extant.
    • December 28, 2019 Attorney Jeffery S. Levin, quoted in The Boston Globe, p. 3
      He received just two disciplinary reports prior to committing the instant offense, one in March 2019 for activating an alarm during a non-emergency situation, and one in May 2019 for failing to provide a urine specimen.
  5. Occurring immediately; immediate; present.
    Synonyms: instantaneous; see also Thesaurus:instantaneous
    • 1645, Thomas Fuller, Good Thoughts in Bad Times:
      The instant time is always the fittest time.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Hocussing of Cigarette[1]:
      No one, however, would have anything to do with him, as Mr. Keeson's orders in those respects were very strict ; he had often threatened any one of his employés with instant dismissal if he found him in company with one of these touts.
  6. Lasting for a short moment; momentary; short-lived.
    Synonyms: brief, transient; see also Thesaurus:ephemeral
  7. Very quickly and easily prepared.
    instant coffee; instant noodles; instant mashed potato; instant photo
  8. Of the current month.
    Synonym: (abbreviation) inst.
    I refer to your letter of the 16th instant in regard to traffic disruption.
Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

instant (not comparable)

  1. (poetic) At once; immediately.
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, I.182:
      He left the room for his relinquished sword, / And Julia instant to the closet flew.
Related terms[edit]

Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin īnstāns.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

instant m (plural instants)

  1. instant (very short period of time)

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


French[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

instant (feminine instante, masculine plural instants, feminine plural instantes)

  1. (literary) pressing, insistent

Noun[edit]

instant m (plural instants)

  1. instant, minute, moment
    en un instantin an instant
    il n'y a pas un instant à perdrethere's not a moment to spare
    ne durer qu'un instantto last only an instant
    ne pas douter de quelque chose un seul instantnot to doubt something for a minute
    il ne faut qu'un instant pour le faireit takes only a minute to do

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Latin[edit]

Verb[edit]

īnstant

  1. third-person plural present active indicative of īnstō

Romanian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from English instant.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

instant m or f or n (indeclinable)

  1. instant (very quickly and easily prepared)

Declension[edit]

Adjective[edit]

instant m or n (feminine singular instantă, masculine plural instanți, feminine and neuter plural instante)

  1. (nonstandard) instant (occurring immediately; immediate; present)

Declension[edit]

Synonyms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

instant

  1. (nonstandard) instantly

Synonyms[edit]