- as a substitute or replacement; in the place or stead of someone or something: We ordered tea but were served coffee instead.
- in preference; as a preferred or accepted alternative: The city has its pleasures, but she wished instead for the quiet of country life.
- instead of, in place of; in lieu of: You can use milk instead of cream in this recipe.
- as a replacement, substitute, or alternative
- instead of (preposition) in place of or as an alternative to
1590s, from Middle English ine stede (early 13c.; see stead); loan-translation of Latin in loco (French en lieu de). Still often two words until c.1640.