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To instantiate is to create an instance of an object in an object-oriented programming (OOP) language. An instantiated object is given a name and created in memory or on disk using the structure described within a class declaration.
In C++ and other similar languages, to instantiate a class is to create an object, whereas in Java, to instantiate a class creates a specific class. The results in both languages are the same (executable files) so there is no difference in use, just in terminology.
Instantiation is also known as an instance.
Instantiation is the creation of an instance of an abstraction, object class (also known as a template) or other computer process whereby objects are used. Each instance created by instantiation is unique depending on the variation of the elements within the object. Until an object becomes instantiated, none of the code within the relevant class declarations is used.
Prior to modern OOP methods, instantiate had a similar meaning in relation to the creation of data within an empty template. For example, the entry of a record into a database was considered to be instantiation.