from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An example that is cited to prove or invalidate a contention or illustrate a point. synonym: example.
  • noun A case or an occurrence.
  • noun A step in a process or series of events.
  • noun A suggestion or request.
  • noun Archaic Urgent solicitation or entreaty.
  • transitive verb To offer as an example; cite.
  • transitive verb To demonstrate or show by an example; exemplify.
  • idiom (for instance) As an example; for example.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cite as an instance; adduce in illustration or confirmation; mention as an example.
  • To furnish an instance or example of; exemplify; manifest.
  • To take or receive example or examples; give or find illustration: followed by in.
  • noun Presence; present time.
  • noun A happening or occurring; occurrence; occasion: as, it was correct in the first instance; a court of first instance (that is, of primary jurisdiction).
  • noun A case occurring; a case offered as an exemplification or a precedent; an example; originally, a case offered to disprove a universal assertion: as, this has happened in three instances.
  • noun Hence Evidence; proof; token.
  • noun An impelling motive; influence; cause.
  • noun The process of a suit.
  • noun In Scots law, that which may be insisted on at one diet or course of probation.
  • noun The act or state of being instant or urgent; insistence; solicitation; urgency.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act or quality of being instant or pressing; urgency; solicitation; application; suggestion; motion.
  • noun obsolete That which is instant or urgent; motive.
  • noun Occasion; order of occurrence.
  • noun That which offers itself or is offered as an illustrative case; something cited in proof or exemplification; a case occurring; an example.
  • noun A token; a sign; a symptom or indication.
  • noun those which proceed at the solicitation of some party.
  • noun the court by which a case is first tried.
  • noun by way of example or illustration; for example.
  • noun (Law) the Court of Admiralty acting within its ordinary jurisdiction, as distinguished from its action as a prize court.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To give an example.
  • transitive verb To mention as a case or example; to refer to; to cite.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One of a series of recurring occasions, cases, essentially the same.
  • noun A dungeon or other area that is duplicated for each player, or each party of players, that enters it, so that each player or party has a private copy of the area, isolated from other players.
  • noun An individual copy of such a dungeon or other area.
  • verb transitive To mention as a case or example; to refer to; to cite; as, to instance a fact.
  • verb intransitive To cite an example as proof; to exemplify.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb clarify by giving an example of
  • noun an occurrence of something
  • noun an item of information that is typical of a class or group


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English instaunce, from Old French instance, request, instant, and from Medieval Latin īnstantia, example, both from Latin, presence, from īnstāns, īnstant-, present; see instant.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French instance, from Latin instantia ("a being near, presence, also perseverance, earnestness, importunity, urgency"), from instans ("urgent"); see instant.


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