"Inst." means "instant," as in "this month"?

prr

Senior Member
English--USA
#1
I have here a sentence from an 1865 NYT article. I believe the abbreviation "inst." refers to "instant," as in, "this month," but I'd like some feedback to see if this is likely or not. Here is the sentence:

We published in the TIMES, day before yesterday, a full report of a speech mask by Hon. THADDEUS STEVENS on the 6th inst., at Lancaster, Penn, on the subject of reconstruction.

If not "this month," what do you think it means?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    #3
    Yes, I'm sure inst. here means "of the current calendar month":)

    There do seem to be other peculiarities in the sentence, though - "mask"?
     
    #4
    It does mean "instant", in the sense of "this month". Note, however, that this is a usage that has entirely faded. Almost no one today would use "instant" that way, and the great majority of native speakers probably are unaware that it even can be used that way.
     

    prr

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    #5
    It does mean "instant", in the sense of "this month". Note, however, that this is a usage that has entirely faded. Almost no one today would use "instant" that way, and the great majority of native speakers probably are unaware that it even can be used that way.
    I certainly was unaware it could be used that way. I only got it because of a dictionary.com search. I just was wondering if there was any other possible meaning for it.

    Thanks for verifying that one for me.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    #7
    Even when I arrived in bureaucratic-land, almost forty years ago, nobody used "inst" to mean "this month". The forms were well known to my mother and to those who taught secretarial skills in the 1950s.

    ... 15th inst. = the 15th of the current month.
    instant: Said of the current calendar month; now ellipt. as in the 10th instant, i.e. the tenth day of the current month. Abbreviated inst.

    ... 15th ult. = the 15th of last month.
    ultimo: Of last month.

    ... 15th prox. = the 15th of next month.
    proximo: Preceded by an ordinal number specifying a date: in or of the next month.
     

    Che1979

    New Member
    English
    #8
    Even when I arrived in bureaucratic-land, almost forty years ago, nobody used "inst" to mean "this month". The forms were well known to my mother and to those who taught secretarial skills in the 1950s.

    ... 15th inst. = the 15th of the current month.
    instant: Said of the current calendar month; now ellipt. as in the 10th instant, i.e. the tenth day of the current month. Abbreviated inst.

    ... 15th ult. = the 15th of last month.
    ultimo: Of last month.

    ... 15th prox. = the 15th of next month.
    proximo: Preceded by an ordinal number specifying a date: in or of the next month.

    It does mean "instant", in the sense of "this month". Note, however, that this is a usage that has entirely faded. Almost no one today would use "instant" that way, and the great majority of native speakers probably are unaware that it even can be used that way.
    Well it jolly well shouldn't have faded away. Panjandrum's mother clearly thought it was necessary to enlighten her off spring as to it's relevance.
    I always use it.

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