Meaning of instant

in•stant

Pronunciation: (in'stunt), [key]
— n.
  1. an infinitesimal or very short space of time; a moment: They arrived not an instant too soon.
  2. the point of time now present or present with reference to some action or event.
  3. a particular moment: at the instant of contact.
  4. a food or beverage, esp. coffee, specially processed for quick preparation.
  5. the present or current month.
—adj.
  1. succeeding without any interval of time; prompt; immediate: instant relief from a headache.
  2. pressing or urgent: instant need.
  3. noting a food or beverage requiring a minimal amount of time and effort to prepare, as by heating or the addition of milk or water, before being served or used: instant coffee; instant pudding.
  4. occurring, done, or prepared with a minimal amount of time and effort; produced rapidly and with little preparation: an instant book; instant answers; instant history.
  5. designed to act or produce results quickly or immediately: an instant lottery.
  6. of the present month:inst. Cf. proximo, ultimo. your letter of the 12th instant. Abbr.:
  7. present; current: the instant case before the court.
—adv.
  1. instantly.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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