instant


instant
instant n Instant, moment, minute, second, flash, jiffy, twinkling, split second are comparable when they mean a particular point of time or a stretch of time of almost imperceptible duration. Instant and moment are often used interchangeably
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to us . . . the moment 8.17 A.M. means something . . . very important, if it happens to be the starting time of our daily train. To our ancestors, such an odd eccentric instant was without significance—did not even exist— Huxley

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but instant carries so much stronger a suggestion of infinitely small duration that it is better fitted than moment for contexts that imply urgency, extreme transiency, or inconceivable swiftness
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to trace the visionary company of love, its voice an instant in the wind I know not whither hurled)— Hart Crane

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come this instant

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he was not an instant too soon

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it passed in an instant

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Moment, on the other hand, is particularly serviceable when the word or the context carries the implication of a definitely apprehended, even though extremely brief, point of time
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wait a moment

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a moment of dreadful suspense— Greene

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it was the finest moment of her life

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I haven't had a moment to attend to it

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Minute and second technically apply to measured fractions of an hour, but in the present relation minute, even more than moment, suggests an appreciable though short duration of time, and second, quite as much as instant, suggests its imperceptible duration
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who buys a minute's mirth to wail a week?— Shak.

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the train will start in a minute

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I was gone only a minute

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standing in the middle of the street he would blow, and in a minute boys would come swarming to him— John Reed

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they showed a second or two of hesitation, and then plunged off the road— Ingamells

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I'll get it this second

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Flash suggests duration comparable to that of a flash of lightning; the term is therefore often used when incredible speed in movement, action, or thought is implied
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the secret of the poor wretch's death was plain to me in a flashKipling

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eyes that in a flash could pick out a friend . . . from a throng— Gather

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Jiffy is found chiefly in the phrase in a jiffy, equivalent to very quickly or directly
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she could have tossed off an article for The Times in a jiffyNicolsori

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the fisherman raises the submerged net in a jiffy—Nat'l Geog. Mag.

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I'll be there in a jiffy

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Twinkling, often with an added "of the eye," suggests the quickness of a wink or blink
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his patient would be carried off by meningitis in the twinkling of an eyeStafford

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the kettle will boil in a twinklingPunch

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Split second, basically denoting a fractional part of a second, heightens the implication of brevity as expressed by second
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Mr. Moon stood for one split second astonished— Chesterton

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one split second of surprise— Sharp

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instant adj *pressing, urgent, imperative, crying, importunate, insistent, exigent
Analogous words: immediate, *direct: compelling, constraining, obliging (see FORCE vb)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • instant — instant, ante 1. (in stan, stan t ) adj. 1°   Qui poursuit, qui presse. Instante sollicitation. Aux instantes prières de cet homme. 2°   Qui nous est prochain, qui est sur nous. Le péril est instant. Le besoin est instant. •   Le régent avait… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Instant — In stant, n. [F. instant, fr. L. instans standing by, being near, present. See {Instant}, a.] [1913 Webster] 1. A point in time; a moment; a portion of time too short to be estimated; also, any particular moment; as, teh situation may change in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • instant — in·stant adj: being under present consideration the questions presented in the instant case Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. instant …   Law dictionary

  • Instant — In stant, a. [L. instans, antis, p. pr. of instare to stand upon, to press upon; pref. in in, on + stare to stand: cf. F. instant. See {Stand}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Pressing; urgent; importunate; earnest. [1913 Webster] Rejoicing in hope; patient… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • instant- — DEFINICIJA 1. kao prvi dio riječi znači da što ima takav sastav ili da je izrađeno u takvoj tehnološkoj pripremi da se može prirediti brže nego što se to radi na uobičajen, tradicionalan način [instant kava; instant palenta] 2. iron. pejor. onaj… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • instant — in‧stant [ˈɪnstənt] adjective happening or available immediately: • We do not expect instant profits. • The agreement will offer subscribers instant access to overseas databases. * * * instant UK US /ˈɪnstənt/ adjective ► happening immediately,… …   Financial and business terms

  • Instant — ist ein Begriff bei Lebensmitteln, der Fertigprodukte bezeichnet. Wortherkunft Der Begriff instant [ɪnstənt], der im Deutschen ‚sofort‘ bedeutet, ist ein Lehnwort aus der englischen Sprache. Er kommt ursprünglich aus dem Latein, und findet sich… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • instant — [in′stənt] adj. [LME < MFr < L instans, prp. of instare, to stand upon or near, press < in , in, upon + stare, to STAND] 1. urgent; pressing 2. soon to happen; imminent 3. without delay; immediate [to demand instant obedience] 4.… …   English World dictionary

  • instant — INSTÁNT adj. invar. Instantaneu, rapid. ♦ (Despre mâncăruri sau băuturi) Care se prepară repede, fără fierbere, prin dizolvare. [pr.: stánt] – cuv. engl. Trimis de valeriu, 21.07.2003. Sursa: DEX 98  instánt adj. m., pl. instánţi …   Dicționar Român

  • Instant- — Präfixoid sofort gebrauchsfähig erw. fach. ( ) Beschreibung von Affixen. Bildungen der Werbesprache nach dem Vorbild von ne. instant coffee sofort löslicher, sofort gebrauchsfähiger Kaffee . ne. instant stammt über mfrz. instant aus l. īnstāns… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache


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