Etymology
Advertisement
instant (adj.)

mid-15c., "now, present, of the moment, current," from Old French instant "near, imminent, immediate, at hand; urgent, assiduous" (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin instantem (nominative instans), in classical Latin "present, pressing, urgent," literally "standing near," present participle of instare "to urge, to stand near, be present (to urge one's case)," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."

Sense of "immediate, done or occurring at once" is from 1590s. Of processed foods, by 1912; instant coffee is from 1915. Televised sports instant replay attested by 1965. Instant messaging attested by 1994.

The word was used 18c.-19c. in dating of correspondence, meaning "the current month," often abbreviated inst. Thus 16th inst. means "sixteenth of the current month" (compare proximo, ultimo).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
instant (n.)
late 14c., "moment in time, infinitely short space of time," from noun use of Old French instant "near, immediate, at hand; assiduous, urgent" (see instant (adj.)). Related: Instanted; instanting.
Related entries & more 
instantaneous (adj.)
1650s, from instant (n.) on model of spontaneous, etc. Related: Instantaneously (1640s); instantaneousness; instantaneity.
Related entries & more 
instantly (adv.)
late 15c., "urgently, persistently," from instant (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "immediately, without any intervening time" is 1550s.
Related entries & more 
Instamatic 
1962, proprietary name (reg. Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, New York) for a type of self-loading camera, from instant + automatic.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
instanter (adv.)
"instantly," 1680s, from Latin instanter "urgently, pressingly," in Medieval Latin, "presently, at once," from Latin instans "present, pressing, urgent," literally "standing near" (see instant (adj.)).
Related entries & more 
proximo 

in correspondence, etc., "in or of the next or coming month," noting a day in the coming month (proximo mense), Latin ablative singular of proximus "nearest, next" (see proximate). Often abbreviated prox. Compare ultimo, instant (adj.).

Related entries & more 
instance (n.)
late 14c., "urgency, insistence" (a sense now archaic), from Old French instance "effort, application; urgency, eagerness, anxiety" (13c.), from Latin instantia "presence, effort, intention; earnestness, urgency," literally "a standing near," from instans (see instant).

In logic, "a fact, a case, an example" (a sense in English from early 15c.), from Medieval Latin instantia, which translated Greek enstasis. This led to for instance "as an example" (1650s), and the noun phrase give (someone) a for instance (1953, American English). The general sense "anything that illustrates a general type" was in use by 19c.
Related entries & more 
*en 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "in."

It forms all or part of: and; atoll; dysentery; embargo; embarrass; embryo; empire; employ; en- (1) "in; into;" en- (2) "near, at, in, on, within;" enclave; endo-; enema; engine; enoptomancy; enter; enteric; enteritis; entero-; entice; ento-; entrails; envoy; envy; episode; esoteric; imbroglio; immolate; immure; impede; impend; impetus; important; impostor; impresario; impromptu; in; in- (2) "into, in, on, upon;" inchoate; incite; increase; inculcate; incumbent; industry; indigence; inflict; ingenuous; ingest; inly; inmost; inn; innate; inner; innuendo; inoculate; insignia; instant; intaglio; inter-; interim; interior; intern; internal; intestine; intimate (adj.) "closely acquainted, very familiar;" intra-; intricate; intrinsic; intro-; introduce; introduction; introit; introspect; invert; mesentery.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit antara- "interior;" Greek en "in," eis "into," endon "within;" Latin in "in, into," intro "inward," intra "inside, within;" Old Irish in, Welsh yn, Old Church Slavonic on-, Old English in "in, into," inne "within, inside."
Related entries & more 
*sta- 

*stā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to stand, set down, make or be firm," with derivatives meaning "place or thing that is standing."

It forms all or part of: Afghanistan; Anastasia; apostasy; apostate; armistice; arrest; assist; astatic; astatine; Baluchistan; bedstead; circumstance; consist; constable; constant; constitute; contrast; cost; desist; destination; destine; destitute; diastase; distance; distant; ecstasy; epistasis; epistemology; establish; estaminet; estate; etagere; existence; extant; Hindustan; histidine; histo-; histogram; histology; histone; hypostasis; insist; instant; instauration; institute; interstice; isostasy; isostatic; Kazakhstan; metastasis; obstacle; obstetric; obstinate; oust; Pakistan; peristyle; persist; post (n.1) "timber set upright;" press (v.2) "force into service;" presto; prostate; prostitute; resist; rest (v.2) "to be left, remain;" restitution; restive; restore; shtetl; solstice; stable (adj.) "secure against falling;" stable (n.) "building for domestic animals;" stage; stalag; stalwart; stamen; -stan; stance; stanchion; stand; standard; stanza; stapes; starboard; stare decisis; stasis; -stat; stat; state (n.1) "circumstances, conditions;" stater; static; station; statistics; stator; statue; stature; status; statute; staunch; (adj.) "strong, substantial;" stay (v.1) "come to a halt, remain in place;" stay (n.2) "strong rope which supports a ship's mast;" stead; steed; steer (n.) "male beef cattle;" steer (v.) "guide the course of a vehicle;" stem (n.) "trunk of a plant;" stern (n.) "hind part of a ship;" stet; stoa; stoic; stool; store; stound; stow; stud (n.1) "nailhead, knob;" stud (n.2) "horse kept for breeding;" stylite; subsist; substance; substitute; substitution; superstition; system; Taurus; understand.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit tisthati "stands;" Avestan histaiti "to stand;" Persian -stan "country," literally "where one stands;" Greek histēmi "put, place, cause to stand; weigh," stasis "a standing still," statos "placed," stylos "pillar;" Latin sistere "stand still, stop, make stand, place, produce in court," status "manner, position, condition, attitude," stare "to stand," statio "station, post;" Lithuanian stojuos "I place myself," statau "I place;" Old Church Slavonic staja "place myself," stanu "position;" Gothic standan, Old English standan "to stand," stede "place;" Old Norse steði "anvil;" Old Irish sessam "the act of standing."

Related entries & more