a. An example that is cited to prove or invalidate a contention or illustrate a point. See Synonyms at example.
b. A case or an occurrence: In all such instances, let conscience be your guide.
2. A step in a process or series of events: You should apply in the first instance to the personnel manager.
a. A suggestion or request: called at the instance of his attorney.
b. Archaic Urgent solicitation or entreaty.
tr.v. in·stanced, in·stanc·ing, in·stanc·esIdiom:
1. To offer as an example; cite: "I assured her that I was interested in garbage, and instanced the fact that I had once been a garbage inspector myself" (Jane Addams).
2. To demonstrate or show by an example; exemplify: "how absurd it often is to cite a single line from ... a poem for the purpose of instancing the perfection or imperfection of the line's rhythm" (Edgar Allan Poe).
As an example; for example.
[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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.