as a substitute or replacement; in the place or stead of someone or something: We ordered tea but were served coffee instead.
in preference; as a preferred or accepted alternative: The city has its pleasures, but she wished instead for the quiet of country life.
instead of, in place of; in lieu of: You can use milk instead of cream in this recipe.
Origin of instead
1175–1225; Middle English; orig. phrase in stead in place
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
as a replacement, substitute, or alternative
instead of (preposition) in place of or as an alternative to
Word Origin for instead
C13: from phrase in stead in place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
1590s, from Middle English ine stede (early 13c.; see stead); loan-translation of Latin in loco (French en lieu de). Still often two words until c.1640.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper