in·stance / ˈinstəns/ • n. 1. an example or single occurrence of something: a serious instance of corruption the search finds every instance where the word appears. ∎ a particular case: in this instance it mattered little. 2. rare Law the institution of a legal suit.• v. [tr.] cite (a fact, case, etc.) as an instance or example: here he instances in particular the work of Bach.PHRASES: at first instance Law at the first court hearing concerning a case.at the instance of formal at the request or instigation of: prosecution at the instance of the police.for instance as an example: take Canada, for instance.in the first (or second, etc.) instance in the first (or second, etc.) place; at the first (or second, etc.) stage of a proceeding: a tribunal should be formed, in the first instance to document these and other charges.ORIGIN: Middle English: via Old French from Latin instantia ‘presence, urgency,’ from instare ‘be present, press upon,’ from in- ‘upon’ + stare ‘to stand.’ The original sense was ‘urgency, urgent entreaty,’ surviving in at the instance of. In the late 16th cent. the word denoted a particular case cited to disprove a general assertion, derived from medieval Latin instantia ‘example to the contrary’ (translating Greek enstasis ‘objection’); hence the meaning ‘single occurrence.’
Hence vb. †urge XV; cite as an instance XVII.