Definitions

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

  • n. An example that is cited to prove or invalidate a contention or illustrate a point. See Synonyms at example.
  • n. A case or an occurrence: In all such instances, let conscience be your guide.
  • n. Law A legal proceeding or process; a suit.
  • n. A step in a process or series of events: You should apply in the first instance to the personnel manager.
  • n. A suggestion or request: called at the instance of his attorney.
  • n. Archaic Urgent solicitation.
  • n. Obsolete An impelling motive.
  • transitive v. To offer as an example; cite.
  • transitive v. To demonstrate or show by an example; exemplify.
  • idiom for instance As an example; for example.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of a series of recurring occasions, cases, essentially the same.
  • n. 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.
  • n. An individual copy of such a dungeon or other area.
  • v. To mention as a case or example; to refer to; to cite; as, to instance a fact.
  • v. To cite an example as proof; to exemplify.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or quality of being instant or pressing; urgency; solicitation; application; suggestion; motion.
  • n. That which is instant or urgent; motive.
  • n. Occasion; order of occurrence.
  • n. That which offers itself or is offered as an illustrative case; something cited in proof or exemplification; a case occurring; an example.
  • n. A token; a sign; a symptom or indication.
  • transitive v. To mention as a case or example; to refer to; to cite.
  • intransitive v. To give an example.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Presence; present time.
  • n. A happening or occurring; occurrence; occasion: as, it was correct in the first instance; a court of first instance (that is, of primary jurisdiction).
  • n. 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.
  • n. Hence Evidence; proof; token.
  • n. An impelling motive; influence; cause.
  • n. The process of a suit.
  • n. In Scots law, that which may be insisted on at one diet or course of probation.
  • n. The act or state of being instant or urgent; insistence; solicitation; urgency.
  • 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.

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

  • v. clarify by giving an example of
  • n. an occurrence of something
  • n. an item of information that is typical of a class or group

Etymologies

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.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French instance, from Latin instantia ("a being near, presence, also perseverance, earnestness, importunity, urgency"), from instans ("urgent"); see instant. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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