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.

1175–1225; Middle English; orig. phrase in stead in place Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
instead (ɪnˈstɛd)
1.  as a replacement, substitute, or alternative
2.  (preposition) instead of in place of or as an alternative to
[C13: from phrase in stead in place]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1590s, from M.E. ine stede (early 13c.; see stead); still often two words until after c.1640. A loan-translation of L. in loco (Fr. en lieu de).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

instead of

Also, in lieu of; in place of; in someone's stead. In substitution for, rather than. For example, She wore a dress instead of slacks, or They had a soprano in lieu of a tenor, or In place of soft drinks they served fruit juice, or The chairman spoke in her stead. Instead of dates from about 1200; in lieu of, which borrows lieu, meaning "place," from French, dates from the late 1200s; in place of dates from the 1500s; and in someone's stead from the 1200s. Also see under in someone's shoes.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Instead of low-growing, dark-leaved annuals for pots.
Use instead of salt in any mixture in which soy sauce's dark color adds an
  interesting dimension.
Instead of the ubiquitous metal bowl with last night's charred remains, imagine
  an artful piece crafted of metal and stone.
Instead of having soft coral-pink flowers, you can have bright rosy-red ones.
Idioms & Phrases
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