BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
What is an instance?
An instance, in object-oriented programming (OOP), is a specific realization of any object. An object may be varied in a number of ways. Each realized variation of that object is an instance. The creation of a realized instance is called instantiation.
Each time a program runs, it is an instance of that program. In languages that create objects from classes, an object is an instantiation of a class. That is, it is a member of a given class that has specified values rather than variables. In a non-programming context, you could think of "dog" as a class and your particular dog as an instance of that class.