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

The MoEDAL instrument began gathering data in 2015 and will carry on through the LHC’s current run, ending this December, and likely through the next from 2020 to 2022. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 Glen Peters The primary instrument of negative emissions is expected to be BECCS: bioenergy (burning plants to generate electricity) with carbon capture and sequestration. David Roberts, Vox, "What genuine, no-bullshit ambition on climate change would look like," 8 Oct. 2018 For the past year, Bait al Nay has been working in communities across Jordan, hosting workshops that include lessons in how to play and construct the instrument. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "In rediscovered reed flute, a soulful link to Jordanian identity," 13 July 2018 Nu metal band Islander was recently removed from the tour when their singer jumped into a drum set, damaging the instrument that wasn’t their own. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Founder of Warped Tour Responds to Korn's Brian 'Head' Welch's Criticism," 9 July 2018 This spectacular image from the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope is the first clear image of a planet caught in the very act of formation around the dwarf star PDS 70. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Watch Incredible, First-Ever Footage of a Planet Being Born," 5 July 2018 And despite its previous setbacks, NASA is supporting interferometry on the twin 8.4-meter instruments at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory atop Mount Graham in Arizona. Adam Mann, Science | AAAS, "Telescope array will spy on spy satellites, star surfaces and black holes," 3 July 2018 The Governor, wearing pale chinos and a dark windbreaker, watched a worker demonstrate the magnetic wand, then squatted and ran the instrument under a rail flange himself. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 The photo provided by the European Southern Observatory ESO taken from the SPHERE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope is the first clear image of a planet caught in the very act of formation around the dwarf star PDS 70. Richard Tribou, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Image captures moment planet is born, scientists say," 2 July 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

7 Apr 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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