instants


Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Idioms.

instants

very brief time periods; almost imperceptible moments: We experience only instants of pure joy.
Not to be confused with:
instance – an occurrence of something; an example: The fistfight was an instance of student discord.
References in classic literature ?
The therns on their side would hasten to rescue the girl, and in an instant the two would be swallowed in the vortex of a maelstrom of yelling devils, hacking and hewing at one another, like fiends incarnate.
So, swinging his seated form to the roll of the ship, and with his astrological-looking instrument placed to his eye, he remained in that posture for some moments to catch the precise instant when the sun should gain its precise meridian.
Just for an instant he poised above the unsuspecting Bara and then he launched himself downward upon the sleek back.
He could not be delayed now by any hungry beast of prey, for what might that very instant be befalling Tara of Helium he could not guess; and so he hastened his steps.
It was flying straight towards him; the guttural cry, like the even tearing of some strong stuff, sounded close to his ear; the long beak and neck of the bird could be seen, and at the very instant when Levin was taking aim, behind the bush where Oblonsky stood, there was a flash of red lightning: the bird dropped like an arrow, and darted upwards again.
One gets inured to noise at sea, but to this day it passes me how even I could have slept an instant in the abnormal din which I now heard raging above my head.
In an instant I realized why I had been unable to find the opening while I had been lightly feeling the surface of the walls--Dian had blocked up the hole she had made lest it arouse suspicion and lead to an early discovery of Juag's escape.
Alleyne, at his lord's right hand, found himself swept hither and thither in the desperate struggle, exchanging savage thrusts one instant with a Spanish cavalier, and the next torn away by the whirl of men and dashed up against some new antagonist.
Afterward the center careered to the front until the regiment was a wedge-shaped mass, but an instant later the opposition of the bushes, trees, and uneven places on the ground split the command and scattered it into detached clusters.
For an instant the power of Porthos seemed about to fail him, but this new Hercules united all his force, and the two walls of the prison in which he was buried fell back slowly and gave him place.
Here the reptile stopped and commenced to go over the poor devil carefully, and as it did so its back turned toward me for an instant, and in that instant I gave two mighty leaps that carried me out of the chamber into the corridor beyond, down which I raced with all the speed I could command.
At the same instant Muda Saffir with fifty of his head-hunting Dyaks emerged from the jungle east of the camp, bent on discovering the whereabouts of the girl the Malay sought and bearing her away to his savage court far within the jungle fastness of his Bornean principality.