instead of



From Middle English in stede of, in stude of (instead of, literally in stead of, in place of), equivalent to in +‎ stead +‎ of. Cognate with Saterland Frisian insteede, ansteede (instead of), West Frisian ynstee (instead of), German anstatt (von) (instead of), Danish i stedet (instead of).


instead of

  1. In lieu of; in place of; rather than.
    He walked to school instead of taking the car.
    • 1611, King James Version, Exodus 4:16:
      And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698:
      Then we relapsed into a discomfited silence, and wished we were anywhere else. But Miss Thorn relieved the situation by laughing aloud, and with such a hearty enjoyment that instead of getting angry and more mortified we began to laugh ourselves, and instantly felt better.

Usage notesEdit

  • Instead of is always followed by a noun (often a gerund).