Definition of instrumental
1a : serving as a crucial means, agent, or tool was instrumental in organizing the strikeb : of, relating to, or done with an instrument or tool
2 : relating to, composed for, or performed on a musical instrument
3 : of, relating to, or being a grammatical case or form expressing means or agency
4 : of or relating to instrumentalism
5 : operant 3 instrumental learning instrumental conditioning
instrumentallyplay \ˌin(t)-strə-ˈmen-təl-ē\ adverb
Examples of instrumental in a Sentence
They played instrumental music at the wedding.
an instrumental version of a song
Recent Examples of instrumental from the Web
Regula and his wife, Mary, also were instrumental in establishing the National First Ladies Library in Canton, which opened in 1998 and later became a national historical site.
Despite its military presence in the region, Israel has also been instrumental in providing humanitarian aid to local Syrian fighters.
Leisring said the music store idea evolved from his discussions with the building owners and Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation, which operates the music studio and was instrumental in having the building designated a historic landmark.
Pittman was instrumental in inserting language into the legislation that limited the coverage for children under age 18, something that autism support groups want to see readdressed next year to include adults.
Through friends, the Phillips were introduced to the Browns, a family that for decades has been instrumental in getting San Diego inner-city kids invovled in golf.
RBBA, as an organization, has been hugely instrumental (in my career), introducing me to great people through networking. ...
Missions to Israel and across the globe have been instrumental to the couple's philanthropy.
Keeping the economy ticking and caving to public appetite for more largesse will be instrumental in how long May is able to stay in power and also reveal her negotiating strength.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instrumental.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
An instrument is a tool, something used to construct. It's often a tool for making music. A musical saw happens to be a carpenter's tool that can be played with a violin bow (though you probably wouldn't want to play a wrench or a pair of pliers). The musical meanings of instrumental, as in "It starts with an instrumental piece" or "a jazz instrumental", are common. But the meanings "helpful", "useful", and "essential", as in "He was instrumental in getting my book published", are just as common.
First Known Use of instrumental
INSTRUMENTAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of instrumental for English Language Learners
: very important in helping or causing something to happen or be done
music : written for or performed on musical instruments : not including singing
INSTRUMENTAL Defined for Kids
Definition of instrumental for Students
1 : acting to get something done He was instrumental in organizing the club.
2 : relating to or done with an instrument instrumental navigation
3 : played on an instrument rather than sung instrumental music
Seen and Heard
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