An instance is a specific example or case of something. One instance of being chased by a growling dog can make a person spend his whole life being afraid of animals.

It's common to find instance used in the expression "for instance," meaning "for example." Bright colors — for instance, pink, green, and blue — can cheer you up when you're feeling sad. Instance can also mean "occurrence." Several instances of cheating might be reported after a math test, for example. In the sixteenth century, the Medieval Latin word instantia meant "example to the contrary," leading to an early definition of instance as "single objection."

Definitions of instance

n an item of information that is typical of a class or group

example, illustration, representative
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apology, excuse
a poor example
exception, outlier
an instance that does not conform to a rule or generalization
case in point, precedent
an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time
the most typical example or representative of a type
a small part of something intended as representative of the whole
an example regarded as typical of its class
a test sample of some substance
cross section
a sample meant to be representative of a whole population
grab sample
a single sample or measurement taken at a specific time or over as short a period as feasible
random sample
a sample grabbed at random
a small amount (especially of food or wine)
Type of:
knowledge acquired through study or experience or instruction

n an occurrence of something

“another instance occurred yesterday”
case, example
humiliation, mortification
an instance in which you are caused to lose your prestige or self-respect
bit, piece
an instance of some kind
clip, time
an instance or single occasion for some event
Type of:
happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
an event that happens

v clarify by giving an example of

exemplify, illustrate
Type of:
dilate, elaborate, enlarge, expand, expatiate, exposit, expound, flesh out, lucubrate
add details, as to an account or idea; clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing

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