Definition of instead in English:



  • 1As an alternative or substitute.

    ‘do not use lotions, but put on a clean dressing instead’
    ‘she never married, preferring instead to remain single’
    • ‘He doesn't do it every day because sometimes his wife will make him pick up a hammer instead.’
    • ‘His decision instead to publish on the eve of polling day is a small but clear signal of defiance.’
    • ‘My cousin had one that used to smoke, but he trained it out of that and got it doing exercise instead.’
    • ‘Why don't you turn off your monitor and go off and do something less boring instead?’
    • ‘I need to either find a way to make this clearer, or put complete entries on the page instead.’
    • ‘Even as a baby she did not gurgle or babble in her cot and instead remained silent.’
    • ‘All that's missing are the lyrics, but true fans of the music can sing along instead.’
    • ‘Time to switch this computer off and go and do something more interesting instead.’
    • ‘It kind of is rubbish too seeing that it isn't really a film at all but instead is an album set to visuals.’
    • ‘Many parents are choosing to send their kids to school with packed lunches instead.’
    • ‘So we came back with a new chopping board, a wooden tray, and a packet of coat hangers instead.’
    • ‘It may be possible to provide a side or back entrance instead, where there's no step.’
    • ‘The cell buzzers were silenced at night and instead a light lit up on the sergeant's desk.’
    • ‘So do they list a number for you to call instead, rather than waiting for them to call you back?’
    • ‘You could have really done something to help change the world, but what did you do instead?’
    • ‘Not only was he happy for it to be used but he offered his new 12 minute version instead.’
    • ‘How about putting a taste of open and honest debate about everything on the menu instead?’
    • ‘They did not set a new level, but instead voted to go for the lowest possible tax.’
    • ‘I pressed him on whether he really did want to work in the bookshop or wanted to study instead.’
    • ‘Those individuals will simply buy a new car instead, whether they can afford it or not.’
    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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1As a substitute or alternative to; in place of.
      ‘walk to work instead of going by car’
      • ‘I'd make it for a whole year instead of the eight weeks it had turned into by the time it stopped.’
      • ‘The move will see the regular grey bin collected on a fortnightly instead of a weekly basis.’
      • ‘We are very grateful for the family asking for donations for us instead of flowers.’
      • ‘It is time the people on this estate stood up to these youths instead of burying our heads in the sand.’
      • ‘He said random tests to check the cars' condition could be used instead of an age limit.’
      • ‘As a result, meetings can take place in my office instead of using a committee room.’
      • ‘This is the first time we have known what we are going to be doing over three years, instead of one.’
      • ‘In front of it, however, instead of a courtyard or public square, there is a car park.’
      • ‘Perhaps Bradford might then be the vibrant city it once was instead of looking so lost.’
      • ‘Royal Mail deserves a gold star for this, instead of all the complaints in the media.’
      • ‘They hope it will become a place children will use instead of hanging about on the streets.’
      • ‘It may even appeal to the woman who wants to buy her husband a diamond instead of the other way around.’
      • ‘They will try to find alternate means and may have a sandwich instead of a proper meal.’
      • ‘It was a rude reminder of all the reasons I cycle instead of taking public transport.’
      • ‘He also has to show that he can be a useful member of society instead of being regarded as a parasite.’
      • ‘Some have made speaking only English a point of national pride instead of a disgrace.’
      • ‘In between meals try to fill up on nuts and fruit instead of crisps and chocolate.’
      • ‘Take the stairs instead of the lift to add a few extra steps to your daily regime.’
      • ‘I mean pretty soon instead of being able to pick who we want to marry others will be picking for us.’
      • ‘So instead of leaving them in plain view in the kitchen, put them somewhere out of sight.’
      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
      View synonyms


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