in·​stru·​men·​tal·​i·​ty | \ ˌin(t)-strə-mən-ˈta-lə-tē How to pronounce instrumentality (audio) , -ˌmen- \
plural instrumentalities

Definition of instrumentality

1 : the quality or state of being instrumental

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Examples of instrumentality in a Sentence

computer literacy is only an instrumentality for acquiring an education, and not an end in itself
Recent Examples on the Web However, the tax credit is not available for state and local governments (and their instrumentalities) and for small businesses who take small business loans like the Paycheck Protection Program. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "3 new coronavirus tax breaks businesses can take advantage of now," 17 May 2020 The instrumentality of one-party rule in the crusade against evil has great appeal. The Economist, "LettersLetters to the editor," 18 Jan. 2018 Furthermore, Lenin had bequeathed the terroristic instrumentalities to his successor. James Freeman, WSJ, "Lenin and the New York Times," 8 Aug. 2017 Investments in the Funds are not deposits or obligations of any bank, not insured or guaranteed by any governmental agency or instrumentality. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Investors Overestimate Nestlé’s Appetite for Radical Change," 29 Aug. 2017 But, by implanting microchips into humans, no instrumentality is required. Paul Sassone,, "Column: Seems like we'll all be robots sooner or later," 3 Aug. 2017 Williams was booked with illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities. Greg Larose,, "Paintball gun sale leads to Kenner teen's arrest when real gun goes off," 19 June 2017 A president also could not receive royalties from foreign book sales if the purchases came from a foreign government instrumentality, such as a foreign public university, the lawyers said. Larry Neumeister, The Seattle Times, "Government seeks dismissal of suit over Trump’s businesses," 9 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'instrumentality.' 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 instrumentality

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for instrumentality

Time Traveler

The first known use of instrumentality was in 1646

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Statistics for instrumentality

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Instrumentality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for instrumentality


in·​stru·​men·​tal·​i·​ty | \ ˌin-strə-mən-ˈta-lə-tē, -ˌmen- How to pronounce instrumentality (audio) \
plural instrumentalities

Legal Definition of instrumentality

1 : something through which an end is achieved or occurs damages incurred in a single incident through an instrumentality owned by the employer
2 : something that serves as an intermediary or agent through which one or more functions of a larger controlling entity are carried out : a part or branch especially of a governing body — compare alter ego

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