Instant vs Avail - What's the difference?

instant | avail | Related terms |

Instant is a related term of avail.

As nouns the difference between instant and avail

is that instant is a very short period of time; a moment while avail is (lb) benefit; value, profit; advantage toward success.

As an adjective instant

is (dated) impending; imminent.

As an adverb instant

is (poetic) at once; immediately.

As a verb avail is

(transitive|often|reflexive) to turn to the advantage of.



Alternative forms

* instaunt (obsolete)

Etymology 1

From (etyl) . More at (l), (l).


(en noun)
  • A very short period of time; a moment.
  • * She paused for only an instant , which was just enough time for John to change the subject.
  • A single, usually precise, point in time.
  • * The instant the alarm went off, he fled the building.
  • An instant beverage or food, especially instant coffee.
  • A day of the current month (abbreviated as : )
  • * In response to your letter of the twenty-first instant...
  • Etymology 2

    From (etyl) and (etyl) instant, from (etyl) ; see state.


  • (dated) Impending; imminent.
  • * Prior
  • Impending death is thine, and instant doom.
  • (dated) Urgent; pressing; acute.
  • * Bible, Rom. xii. 12
  • Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.
  • * Carlyle
  • I am beginning to be very instant for some sort of occupation.
  • Occurring immediately; immediate; present.
  • * Fuller
  • The instant time is always the fittest time.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1905, author=
  • , title= , chapter=2 citation , passage=No one, however, would have anything to do with him, as Mr. Keeson's orders in those respects were very strict ; he had often threatened any one of his employés with instant dismissal if he found him in company with one of these touts.}}
  • Lasting for a short moment; momentary; short-lived.
  • Very quickly and easily prepared.
  • instant coffee
  • Of the current month (abbreviation inst.).
  • * “I refer to your letter of the 16th inst. in regard to traffic disruption”
  • Derived terms
    * instantize, instantise * instantly * instant replay


  • (poetic) At once; immediately.
  • * 1819 , Lord Byron, Don Juan , I.182:
  • He left the room for his relinquished sword, / And Julia instant to the closet flew.


    * ----




    (en verb)
  • (transitive, often, reflexive) To turn to the advantage of.
  • I availed myself of the opportunity.
  • To be of service to.
  • Artifices will not avail the sinner in the day of judgment.
  • To promote; to assist.
  • (Alexander Pope)
  • To be of use or advantage; to answer or serve the purpose; to have strength, force, or efficacy sufficient to accomplish the object.
  • The plea in court must avail .
    ''This scheme will not avail.
    Medicines will not avail to halt the disease.
  • * Sir Walter Scott
  • Words avail very little with me, young man.
  • To provide; to make available.
  • * {{quote-news, 2004, November 16, Nik Ogbulie, Decongesting the Banking Floors, This Day citation
  • , passage=With this initiative, Valucard becomes an open system that is not limited to point of sale (POS) transactions, but now avails cash to its holders in various locations nationwide.}}


    * disavail

    Derived terms

    * available * disavail


    (en noun)
  • (lb) Benefit; value, profit; advantage toward success.
  • *:
  • *:I shal take the aduenture sayd Balen that god wille ordeyne me / but the swerd ye shalle not haue at this tyme by the feythe of my body / ye shalle repente hit within short tyme sayd the damoysel/ For I wold haue the swerd more for your auaylle than for myne / for I am passyng heuy for your sake
  • *, III.1:
  • *:hardy Citizenssticke not to sacrifice their honours and consciences, as those of old, their lives, for their Countries availe and safety.
  • *{{quote-book, 1895, (Andrew Lang), A Monk of Fife
  • , passage=So this friar, unworthy as he was of his holy calling, had me at an avail on every side, nor do I yet see what I could do but obey him, as I did.}}
  • Effect in achieving a goal or aim; purpose, use (now usually in negative constructions).
  • :
  • *
  • *:Orion hit a rabbit once; but though sore wounded it got to the bury, and, struggling in, the arrow caught the side of the hole and was drawn out. Indeed, a nail filed sharp is not of much avail as an arrowhead; you must have it barbed, and that was a little beyond our skill.
  • *2014 , , " Southampton hammer eight past hapless Sunderland in barmy encounter", The Guardian , 18 October:
  • *:At half-time, Poyet replaced Wes Brown with Liam Bridcutt in the heart of defence and sent out the rest of the players to atone for their first-half mistakes. To no avail .
  • *(Richard Henry Stoddard) (1825–1903)
  • *:the avails of their own industry
  • Effort; striving.
  • *{{quote-book, 1613, (Thomas Campion), chapter=Songs of Mourning, , year_published=1907, page=125, title= Poetical Works (in English) of Thomas Campion
  • , passage=And ev'n now, though he breathless lies, his sails / Are struggling with the winds, for our avails / T'explore a passage hid from human tract, / Will fame him in the enterprise or fact.}}
  • An advertising slot or package.
  • *{{quote-book, 1994, Barry L. Sherman, page=353, title= Telecommunications Management: Broadcasting/cable and the New Technologies, isbn=0070566984
  • , passage=The salesperson at an affiliate TV station might prepare an avail which offers two weeks of spots in early and late news
  • *{{quote-book, 2004, Walter S. Ciciora et al., page=123, title= Modern Cable Television Technology: Video, Voice, and Data Communications, isbn=1558608281
  • , passage=At an avail , the ad server plays out the MPEG-2 audio/video elementary streams.}}
  • A press avail.
  • :
  • Non-binding notice of availability for work.
  • (lb) A readily available stock of oil.
  • *{{quote-book, 1967, title= Interstate Compact on Oil and Gas (10th Extension), page=95
  • , passage=Total crude oil avails (production plus purchases) of even highly "self-sufficient" refiners are far greater than their reported refinery inputs.}}

    Usage notes

    * (success or benefit) Very often encountered in negative phrases, such as of' or '''to''' '''no''' or '''little''' ' avail .