- a case or occurrence of anything: fresh instances of oppression.
- an example put forth in proof or illustration: to cite a few instances.
- Law. the institution and prosecution of a case.
- Archaic. urgency in speech or action.
- Obsolete. an impelling motive.
- to cite as an instance or example.
- to exemplify by an instance.
- to cite an instance.
- at the instance of, at the urging or suggestion of: He applied for the assistantship at the instance of his professor.
- for instance, as an example; for example: If you were to go to Italy, for instance, you would get a different perspective on our culture.
Origin of instance
- a case or particular example
- for instance for or as an example
- a specified stage in proceedings; step (in the phrases in the first, second, etc, instance)
- urgent request or demand (esp in the phrase at the instance of)
- an expression derived from another by instantiation
- See substitution (def. 4b)
- archaic motive or reason
- to cite as an example
Word Origin and History for counter-instance
mid-14c., "urgency," from Old French instance "eagerness, anxiety, solicitation" (13c.), from Latin instantia "presence, effort intention; earnestness, urgency," literally "a standing near," from instans (see instant). In Scholastic logic, "a fact or example" (early 15c.), from Medieval Latin instantia, used to translate Greek enstasis. This led to use in phrase for instance "as an example" (1650s), and the noun phrase To give (someone) a for instance (1953, American English).
Idioms and Phrases with counter-instance
see under for example.