Derivative from Latin instare. Found in English with various meanings from the 15th century to the present time.
Instant is used once in Isaiah 29:5 in the sense of immediate time; elsewhere in the sense of urgent, pressing; Luke 23:23, where "were instant" is the King James Version translation of the verb epekeinto; Romans 12:12, where it is involved in the verb proskartereo; compare Acts 6:4. In 2 Timothy 4:2 it stands for the expressive verb epistethi, "stand to."
Instantly (urgently, steadfastly) is the King James Version rendering of two different Greek phrases, spoudaios, found in Luke 7:4; and en ekteneia, in Acts 26:7. In both cases the American Standard Revised Version renders "earnestly."
Russell Benjamin Miller
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