Definition of instant noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈɪnstənt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɪnstənt//
    [usually singular]
    jump to other results
  1. 1a very short period of time synonym moment I'll be back in an instant. Just for an instant I thought he was going to refuse.
  2. 2a particular point in time At that (very) instant, the door opened. I recognized her the instant (that)(= as soon as) I saw her. Come here this instant! (= immediately)
  3. Word Originlate Middle English: via Old French from Latin instant- ‘being at hand’, from the verb instare, from in- ‘in, at’ + stare ‘to stand’.Extra examples At any given instant the distribution of molecular speeds is always constant under the same conditions. For a brief instant, I thought she was going to fall. He paused for an instant before continuing. He took out his keys to lock the door. At that very instant the door flew open and a man ran into the room. His news was too important to be contained for a single instant longer. It was all over in an instant. She woke up in the instant before the phone rang. The bomb could go off at any instant. The next instant she was flying through the air. Come here this instant! I recognized her the instant (that) I saw her.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: instant