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1. A period of time so short as to be almost imperceptible. See Synonyms at moment.
2. A particular or precise time: at the instant of combustion.
3. Abbr. inst. The current month: your letter of the 15th instant.
4. A food or beverage designed for quick preparation.
1. Occurring at once; immediate: instant gratification.
2. Imperative; urgent: an instant need.
3. 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.
At once; instantly.

[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.]

in′stant·ness n.


the quality of being instant
References in periodicals archive ?
Cameron replied he was not, adding: "I think that politicians do have to think about what we say and that the trouble with Twitter--the instantness of it" (1) might result in too many tweets making a twit--to paraphrase the continuation of Cameron's own infamous quote.
Prime Minister David Cameron infamously told radio listeners in 2009: "The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it - too many twits might make a tw*t.
15) The instant is continually under pressure to lose its instantness, being unavailable to itself, and transcultural poetics is wrestling with the now, which, by filtering through our time, by keeping diverse subjects in company, by enfolding one present into the other, stays ironically "present imperfect.