Definition of instead in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈstɛd/


1As an alternative or substitute: do not use lotions, but put on a clean dressing instead she never married, preferring instead to remain single
More example sentences
  • Even as a baby she did not gurgle or babble in her cot and instead remained silent.
  • So do they list a number for you to call instead, rather than waiting for them to call you back?
  • I need to either find a way to make this clearer, or put complete entries on the page instead.
as an alternative, as a substitute, as a replacement, in lieu, alternatively;
rather, by contrast, for preference, by choice, from choice;
on second thoughts;
all things being equal, ideally;
North American  alternately
1.1 (instead of) As a substitute or alternative to; in place of: walk to work instead of going by car
More example sentences
  • They will try to find alternate means and may have a sandwich instead of a proper meal.
  • The move will see the regular grey bin collected on a fortnightly instead of a weekly basis.
  • In front of it, however, instead of a courtyard or public square, there is a car park.
as an alternative to, as a substitute for, as a replacement for, in place of, in lieu of, in preference to;
rather than, as opposed to, in contrast with, as against, as contrasted with, before


Middle English (originally as two words): from in + stead.

  • stead from Old English:

    Old English stede meant ‘place’. From a Germanic source, it is related to Dutch stad ‘town’, German Statt ‘place’, from an Indo-European root shared by the verb stand. Instead (Middle English) is simply ‘in stead, in place of’ run together. The adjective steadfast [Old English] is literally ‘standing firm’; a homestead (Old English) is your ‘home place’; while if you are steady (Middle English) you are not easily moved from your place. See also place

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