instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin(t)-strə-mənt How to pronounce instrument (audio) \

Definition of instrument

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device used to produce music also : a singing voice
2 : implement especially : one designed for precision work
3a : a measuring device for determining the present value of a quantity under observation
b : an electrical or mechanical device used in navigating an airplane especially : such a device used as the sole means of navigating
4a : a means whereby something is achieved, performed, or furthered
b : one used by another as a means or aid : dupe, tool
5 : a formal legal document (such as a deed, bond, or agreement)

instrument

verb
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin(t)-strə-ˌment How to pronounce instrument (audio) \
instrumented; instrumenting; instruments

Definition of instrument (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to address a legal instrument to
2 : to score for musical performance : orchestrate
3 : to equip with instruments especially for measuring and recording data

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Synonyms for instrument

Synonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for instrument

Noun

implement, tool, instrument, appliance, utensil mean a relatively simple device for performing work. implement may apply to anything necessary to perform a task. crude stone implements farm implements tool suggests an implement adapted to facilitate a definite kind or stage of work and suggests the need of skill more strongly than implement. a carpenter's tools instrument suggests a device capable of delicate or precise work. the dentist's instruments appliance refers to a tool or instrument utilizing a power source and suggests portability or temporary attachment. household appliances utensil applies to a device used in domestic work or some routine unskilled activity. kitchen utensils

Examples of instrument in a Sentence

Noun an instrument designed to measure the Earth's atmosphere The piano was his favorite musical instrument. Do you play any instruments?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After completing yesterday’s coring, Perseverance maneuvered the corer, bit, and open end of the sample tube in order to be imaged by the rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument. David Bressan, Forbes, 5 Sep. 2021 The words are simply yet another instrument in the repertoire the composer has at their disposal. Adrian Daub, Longreads, 3 Sep. 2021 Images from the rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument—a pair of zoomable cameras that shoot images of the landscape from atop the rover—showed that rock indeed made it into the tube this time. Ramin Skibba, Wired, 2 Sep. 2021 Guided by this logic, the food pyramid, the triangle instrument and pizza slices would also be satanic. Nayeli Lomeli, USA TODAY, 1 Sep. 2021 Cat Power released the song on her 2012 album Son, and the track — on which Marshall recorded every instrument herself — has become an unlikely sleeper hit in her catalogue. Nate Sloan, Vulture, 31 Aug. 2021 Chow's sextant, a navigation instrument that measured celestial objects and the horizon -- the only navigation device at that time -- was useless. Maggie Hiufu Wong, CNN, 23 Aug. 2021 In July, my colleagues Nabih Bulos and Marcus Yam produced an extensive report on the grim future faced by the musicians who play and fabricate the rubab, an ancient Afghan instrument akin to the lute. Los Angeles Times, 22 Aug. 2021 Originally envisioned to study dark energy with a barebones instrument package and a mirror scarcely half the size of Hubble’s, Roman was projected to launch as early as 2020 on a relatively slim budget of less than $2 billion. Lee Billings, Scientific American, 18 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Unlike earthquake prediction — which in terms of short-term prediction is currently not feasible and may never be feasible on a short timescale — volcano prediction is feasible and is common if volcanoes are instrumented. NBC News, 23 May 2018 Bullerengue is a genre led mainly by elderly women, instrumented exclusively with artisan drums, and preserved through oral tradition. Marjua Estevez, Billboard, 7 Nov. 2017 But however well-instrumented, machines can't intuit. Bucky Mcmahon, Popular Mechanics, 8 Sep. 2017 The plan is for the NFL, when the technology is ready, to offer mouth guards instrumented with such sensors to players to measure their impact response. Barry Wilner, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 Aug. 2017 The plan is for the NFL, when the technology is ready, to offer mouth guards instrumented with such sensors to players to measure their impact response. USA TODAY, 29 Aug. 2017

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1700, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for instrument

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin instrumentum, from instruere to arrange, instruct

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Time Traveler for instrument

Time Traveler

The first known use of instrument was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near instrument

instructress

instrument

instrumental

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Statistics for instrument

Last Updated

8 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Instrument.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/instrument. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for instrument

instrument

noun

English Language Learners Definition of instrument

: a tool or device used for a particular purpose especially : a tool or device designed to do careful and exact work
: a device that measures something (such as temperature or distance)
: a device that is used to make music

instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin-strə-mənt How to pronounce instrument (audio) \

Kids Definition of instrument

1 : a tool or device for doing a particular kind of work a dentist's instruments
2 : a device used to produce music
3 : a way of getting something done Curiosity is an instrument of discovery.
4 : a legal document (as a deed)
5 : a device that measures something (as altitude or temperature)

Choose the Right Synonym for instrument

instrument, tool, and utensil mean a device for doing work. instrument is used for a device that can be used to do complicated work. The surgeon's instruments were sterilized. tool is used for a device used for a particular job and often suggests that a special skill is needed to use it. A carpenter's tools include hammers and saws. utensil is used for a simple device used in jobs around the house. They bought kitchen utensils.

instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment | \ ˈin(t)-strə-mənt How to pronounce instrument (audio) \

Medical Definition of instrument

: any implement, tool, or utensil (as for surgery)

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instrument

noun
in·​stru·​ment

Legal Definition of instrument

1 : a means or implement by which something is achieved, performed, or furthered an instrument of crime
2 : a document (as a deed, will, bond, note, certificate of deposit, insurance policy, warrant, or writ) evidencing rights or duties especially of one party to another under the law a person is not liable on an instrument unless the person signed the instrumentUniform Commercial Code an indictment is a form of charging instrument specifically : negotiable instrument

More from Merriam-Webster on instrument

Nglish: Translation of instrument for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of instrument for Arabic Speakers

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