instant

An instant is a very short time. In combinations like instant coffee and instant replay it means available right away without a wait.

Instant and moment mean the same thing if you are talking about a particular time in the past like you remember the instant or moment you realized that you had won the lottery. However, the two words are very different when talking about time in the future. "I'll be there in an instant" means you're coming as quickly as possible, whereas if you say "I'll be there in a moment," someone is going to have to wait a bit for you.

Definitions of instant
  1. noun
    a very short time (as the time it takes the eye to blink or the heart to beat)
  2. noun
    a particular point in time
    synonyms: minute, moment, second
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    types:
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    climax, culmination
    the decisive moment in a novel or play
    eleventh hour, last minute
    the latest possible moment
    moment of truth
    a crucial moment on which much depends
    moment of truth
    the moment in a bullfight when the matador kills the bull
    pinpoint
    a very brief moment
    time
    a suitable moment
    psychological moment
    the most appropriate time for achieving a desired effect
    anagnorisis
    the moment in a literary work when a character makes a startling or critical discovery
    high time
    the latest possible moment
    occasion
    the time of a particular event
    type of:
    point, point in time
    an instant of time
  3. adjective
    occurring with no delay
    instant gratification”
    synonyms: instantaneous
    fast
    acting or moving or capable of acting or moving quickly
  4. adjective
    demanding attention
    “an instant need”
    synonyms: clamant, crying, exigent, insistent
    imperative
    requiring attention or action
  5. adjective
    in or of the present month
    synonyms: inst
    present
    temporal sense; intermediate between past and future; now existing or happening or in consideration
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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