instance

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
  1. noun
    an item of information that is typical of a class or group
    synonyms: example, illustration, representative
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    types:
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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
    quintessence
    the most typical example or representative of a type
    sample
    a small part of something intended as representative of the whole
    specimen
    an example regarded as typical of its class
    coupon
    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
    tasting
    a small amount (especially of food or wine)
    type of:
    information
    knowledge acquired through study or experience or instruction
  2. noun
    an occurrence of something
    “another instance occurred yesterday”
    synonyms: case, example
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    types:
    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
  3. verb
    clarify by giving an example of
    synonyms: exemplify, illustrate
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    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
Commonly confused words

instant / instance

Around the Vocabulary.com office, we might like an instance of tea, but we vehemently oppose instant tea.

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