in·​stru·​men·​tal·​ism ˌin(t)-strə-ˈmen-tᵊl-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce instrumentalism (audio)
: a doctrine that ideas are instruments of action and that their usefulness determines their truth

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web There's nothing particularly quantum-mechanical about instrumentalism. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 18 Nov. 2011 The details of genetics, the abstract models of theorists, the messy instrumentalism of the naturalists, and the physical focus of the molecular researchers, all matter. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 27 July 2010 Doubtless not a few of them harbor a special disdain for American Evangelicalism, with its gaudy, prosperous instrumentalism. James Wood, The New Yorker, 2 Nov. 2020

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

Word History

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of instrumentalism was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near instrumentalism

Cite this Entry

“Instrumentalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

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