instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin(t)-strə-mənt How to pronounce instrument (audio) \

Definition of instrument

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device used to produce music also : a singing voice
2a : a means whereby something is achieved, performed, or furthered
b : one used by another as a means or aid : dupe, tool
3 : implement especially : one designed for precision work
4 : a formal legal document (such as a deed, bond, or agreement)
5a : a measuring device for determining the present value of a quantity under observation
b : an electrical or mechanical device used in navigating an airplane especially : such a device used as the sole means of navigating

instrument

verb
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin(t)-strə-ˌment How to pronounce instrument (audio) \
instrumented; instrumenting; instruments

Definition of instrument (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to address a legal instrument to
2 : to score for musical performance : orchestrate
3 : to equip with instruments especially for measuring and recording data

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Synonyms for instrument

Synonyms: Noun

certificate, certification, document

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Choose the Right Synonym for instrument

Noun

implement, tool, instrument, appliance, utensil mean a relatively simple device for performing work. implement may apply to anything necessary to perform a task. crude stone implements farm implements tool suggests an implement adapted to facilitate a definite kind or stage of work and suggests the need of skill more strongly than implement. a carpenter's tools instrument suggests a device capable of delicate or precise work. the dentist's instruments appliance refers to a tool or instrument utilizing a power source and suggests portability or temporary attachment. household appliances utensil applies to a device used in domestic work or some routine unskilled activity. kitchen utensils

Noun

instrument, tool, and utensil mean a device for doing work. instrument is used for a device that can be used to do complicated work. The surgeon's instruments were sterilized. tool is used for a device used for a particular job and often suggests that a special skill is needed to use it. A carpenter's tools include hammers and saws. utensil is used for a simple device used in jobs around the house. They bought kitchen utensils.

Examples of instrument in a Sentence

Noun

an instrument designed to measure the Earth's atmosphere The piano was his favorite musical instrument. Do you play any instruments?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Notice the entry door design, too, which looks like an abstract musical instrument. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Look inside a Palo Alto home that imagines the sea and music," 4 June 2019 Google’s move to monetize its visual Discover feed in addition to traditional searches is a valuable new instrument in Google’s virtual toolbox. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Google May Know You Better Than You Know Yourself," 17 May 2019 On Wednesday, April 17 — already a big day for music news with the release of Beyoncé's Netflix doc Homecoming — Shawn dropped his bombshell of a discovery on Twitter that boba is, in fact, an instrument in two perfect video tweets. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Producer Shawn Wasabi Turned His Bubble Tea Bobas Into a Viral Beat," 18 Apr. 2019 Office Depot OfficeMax Staples Music Stores Closed on Thanksgiving Save instrument-shopping for Black Friday, and groove to the tunes on our Thanksgiving playlist instead. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "70 Stores That Will Be Closed on Thanksgiving Day," 5 Oct. 2018 The detection also triggered a powerful example of another new trend, multimessenger astronomy, in which telescopes and other instruments studied the flaring blazar in all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays to radio waves. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Ghostly particle caught in polar ice ushers in new way to look at the universe," 12 July 2018 The characters play the piano and other instruments including guitar and ukulele during the show. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Marriott Theatre's 'Pinkalicious:' Silly, but honest," 11 July 2018 As the game played on, dozens of vendors carrying large Mexican flags, rattles, horns and other celebratory instruments stood by, hopeful victory would boost their sales. Sandra Dibble, sandiegouniontribune.com, "¡Viva Korea! Losing to Sweden, Mexican soccer fans cheer Korean team," 27 June 2018 The second, Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat-2), is slated to fly later this year and will use lasers and other instruments to measure Earth's surface elevation. Alex Stuckey, Houston Chronicle, "NASA researchers: Arctic ice loss has tripled since 2012," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Unlike earthquake prediction — which in terms of short-term prediction is currently not feasible and may never be feasible on a short timescale — volcano prediction is feasible and is common if volcanoes are instrumented. NBC News, "Volcano expert explains the science behind Kilauea's ongoing eruption," 23 May 2018 Bullerengue is a genre led mainly by elderly women, instrumented exclusively with artisan drums, and preserved through oral tradition. Marjua Estevez, Billboard, "How Afro-Colombian Artist Magín Díaz Went From Anonymity to Latin Grammy-Nominated at 95 Years Old," 7 Nov. 2017 But however well-instrumented, machines can't intuit. Bucky Mcmahon, Popular Mechanics, "What's it like to fly a plane into a hurricane like Irma? We climbed into a NOAA plane in 2016 and flew into the heart of Hurricane Matthew to find out.," 8 Sep. 2017 The plan is for the NFL, when the technology is ready, to offer mouth guards instrumented with such sensors to players to measure their impact response. Barry Wilner, The Christian Science Monitor, "NFL dedicates large portion of $100 million pledge to neuroscience," 29 Aug. 2017 The plan is for the NFL, when the technology is ready, to offer mouth guards instrumented with such sensors to players to measure their impact response. USA TODAY, "NFL making $40 million available for medical research," 29 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instrument.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of instrument

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1700, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for instrument

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin instrumentum, from instruere to arrange, instruct

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Statistics for instrument

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for instrument

The first known use of instrument was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for instrument

instrument

noun

English Language Learners Definition of instrument

: a tool or device used for a particular purpose especially : a tool or device designed to do careful and exact work
: a device that measures something (such as temperature or distance)
: a device that is used to make music

instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin-strə-mənt How to pronounce instrument (audio) \

Kids Definition of instrument

1 : a tool or device for doing a particular kind of work a dentist's instruments
2 : a device used to produce music
3 : a way of getting something done Curiosity is an instrument of discovery.
4 : a legal document (as a deed)
5 : a device that measures something (as altitude or temperature)

instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin(t)-strə-mənt How to pronounce instrument (audio) \

Medical Definition of instrument

: any implement, tool, or utensil (as for surgery)

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instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment

Legal Definition of instrument

1 : a means or implement by which something is achieved, performed, or furthered an instrument of crime
2 : a document (as a deed, will, bond, note, certificate of deposit, insurance policy, warrant, or writ) evidencing rights or duties especially of one party to another under the law a person is not liable on an instrument unless the person signed the instrumentUniform Commercial Code an indictment is a form of charging instrument specifically : negotiable instrument

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Comments on instrument

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