Definition of instrumental
1 a : serving as a crucial means, agent, or tool <was instrumental in organizing the strike> b : 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 \-təl-ē\ adverb
Examples of instrumental in a sentence
They played instrumental music at the wedding.
an instrumental version of a song
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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