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
Seward, then the U.S. secretary of state, was instrumental in the Alaska purchase.
The Beguiled, featuring a minimalist, instrumental score by Coppola's husband Thomas Mars and his band Phoenix, isn't as pop music-heavy as her previous outings.
Clueless had Amy Heckerling at the helm and Wonder Woman found its leader in Patty Jenkins; both directors were instrumental in creating complete worlds and storylines for their characters.
The famous instrumental not only evokes Lynch’s preferred ‘
The famous instrumental not only evokes Lynch’s preferred 50s vibe, but would also serve as a pretty apropos theme song for poor Dougie Jones.
Both McCann and Spellman are also employees of McComas Funeral Homes and were instrumental in establishing the Flag Retirement program.
That language, as well as an amendment seeking to ensure more funding to help people with preexisting conditions, was instrumental in gaining enough votes for the bill to pass the House.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was instrumental in drafting Trump’s changes, with help from Miami Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart.
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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