• IPA: /ˈɪnstəns/

instance (plural instances)

  1. (obsolete) Urgency of manner or words; an urgent request; insistence. [14th-19th c.]
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 8, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      I know one very well alied, to whom, at the instance of a brother of his […], I spake to that purpose […].
    • 1814 July 6, [Walter Scott], Waverley; or, ’Tis Sixty Years Since. In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, OCLC 270129598 ↗:
  2. (obsolete) A token; a sign; a symptom or indication.
    It sends some precious instance of itself/ After the thing it loves. Hamlet IV. v. ca. 1602
  3. (obsolete) That which is urgent; motive.
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii]:
      The instances that second marriage move
      Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
  4. Occasion; order of occurrence.
    • These seem as if, in the time of Edward I., they were drawn up into the form of a law, in the first instance.
  5. A case offered as an exemplification or a precedent; an illustrative example. [from 16th c.]
    • most remarkable instances of suffering
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗:
      sometimes we love those that are absent, saith Philostratus, and gives instance in his friend Athenodorus, that loved a maid at Corinth whom he never saw […]
  6. One of a series of recurring occasions, cases, essentially the same.
    • 2010, The Guardian, 11 Oct 2010:
      The organisations claim fraudsters are targeting properties belonging to both individuals and companies, in some instances using forged documents.
  7. (obsolete) A piece of evidence; a proof or sign (of something). [16th-18th c.]
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors:
      The reason that I gather he is mad, Besides this present instance of his rage, Is a mad tale he told to day at dinner […]
  8. (computing) A specific occurrence of something that is created or instantiated, such as a database, or an object of a class in object-oriented programming. [from 20th c.]
    • 2000, Dov Bulka, ‎David Mayhew, Efficient C++: Performance Programming Techniques (page 149)
      Some compilers will allow statics to be inlined, but then incorrectly create multiple instances of the inlined variable at run-time.
  9. (massively multiplayer online games) 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.
  10. (massively multiplayer online games) An individual copy of such a dungeon or other area.
    • 2005 January 11, Patrick B., "Re: Instance dungeons ↗", in, Usenet:
      The instance is created for the group that enters it.
    • 2005 December 6, "Rene" (username), "Re: Does group leader affect drops? ↗", in, Usenet:
      As soon as the first player enters (spawns) a new instance, it appears that the loottable is somehow chosen.
    • 2010, Anthony Steed & Manuel Fradinho Oliveira, Networked Graphics: Building Networked Games and Virtual Environments, Elsevier, ISBN 978-0-12-374423-4, page 398:
      A castle on the eastern edge of the island spawns a new instance whenever a party of players enters.
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Verb

instance (instances, present participle instancing; past and past participle instanced)

  1. (transitive) To mention as a case or example; to refer to; to cite
    to instance a fact
    • 1946, E. M. Butler, Rainer Maria Rilke, p. 404 ↗
      The poems which I have instanced are concrete and relatively glaring examples of the intangible difference which the change of language made in Rilke's visions .
  2. (intransitive) To cite an example as proof; to exemplify.

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