instant

(redirected from instants)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Instant

Current or present.

When composing a legal brief, an attorney might use the phrase the instant case in reference to the case currently before the court to distinguish it from other cases discussed.

instant

adjective approaching, at once, at the pressnt time, at this moment, close, close at hand, current, early, existent, forthcoming, forthwith, imminent, in process, looming, near, near at hand, punctual, punctum temporis, ready, simultaneous, speedy, without delay
Associated concepts: instant case, instant motion
See also: crucial, current, expeditious, immediate, imminent, important, insistent, instantaneous, pending, point, present, prompt, rapid, requisite, urgent

INSTANT. An indivisible space of time.
     2. Although it cannot be actually divided, yet by intendment of law, it may be applied to several purposes; for example, he who lays violent hands upon himself, commits no felony till he is dead, and when he is dead he is not in being so as to be termed a felon; but he is so adjudged in law, eo instante, at the very instant this fact is done. Vin. Ab. Instant, A, pl. 2; Plowd. 258; Co. Litt. 18; Show. 415.

References in classic literature ?
There was not an instant to be lost in hesitation or doubt.
Tarzan recognized the ear-marks of the witch-doctor and awaited Numa's charge with a feeling of pleasurable anticipation, for the ape-man had no love for witch-doctors; but in the instant that Numa did charge, the white man suddenly recalled that the lion had stolen his kill a few minutes before and that revenge is sweet.
The banth toppled sideways at the same instant that it attempted to spring; a raking talon passed close to Gahan's head at the moment that his sword lunged through the savage heart, and as the warrior wrenched his blade from the carcass it slipped silently over the side of the ship.
Looking up in an enforced pause, I saw Santos whispering in the skipper's ear, with the expression of a sphinx but no lack of foreign gesticulation - behind them a fringe of terror-stricken faces, parted at that instant by two more figures, as wild and strange as any in that wild, strange scene.
It was a desperate chance to take, and I realized it in the instant that I threw the gun up from my hip and pulled the trigger.
His grasp relaxed, his feet slipped, and in an instant he was a crushed and mangled corpse upon the sharp ridges beneath him.
At the same instant his friend grabbed it from the other side.
Of a sudden it turned into an apartment on the right of the corridor, and an instant later as I rushed in I found myself facing two of the Mahars.
In an instant the little room was filled with howling, fighting men.
He was, upon the instant, another creature--wary, alert, ready.
The other thern was engaging me at the time, and I was forcing him back--touching him here and there with my point until he was bleeding from a dozen wounds, yet not being able to penetrate his marvelous guard to reach a vulnerable spot for the brief instant that would have been sufficient to send him to his ancestors.
I saw his wild endeavors to regain his equilibrium; I saw him reel drunkenly for an instant upon the brink of eternity and then, with a loud scream, slip into the sea.