1

instrument

noun in·stru·ment \ ˈin(t)-strə-mənt \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of instrument

1 :a device used to produce music; also :a singing voice
2 a :a means whereby something is achieved, performed, or furthered
b :one used by another as a means or aid :dupe, tool
3 :implement; especially :one designed for precision work
4 :a formal legal document (such as a deed, bond, or agreement)
5 a :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

Examples of instrument in a Sentence

  1. an instrument designed to measure the Earth's atmosphere

  2. The piano was his favorite musical instrument.

  3. Do you play any instruments?

Recent Examples of instrument from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of instrument

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

instrument Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of instrument

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

2

instrument

verb in·stru·ment \ ˈin(t)-strə-ˌment \

Definition of instrument

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

Recent Examples of instrument from the Web

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.

First Known Use of instrument

circa 1700



INSTRUMENT Defined for English Language Learners

instrument

noun

Definition of instrument for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

instrument

noun in·stru·ment \ ˈin-strə-mənt \

Definition of instrument for Students

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)

Synonym Discussion of 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.

Medical Dictionary

instrument

noun in·stru·ment \ ˈin(t)-strə-mənt \

medical Definition of instrument

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

Law Dictionary

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 instrument
  • Uniform Commercial Code
  • an indictment is a form of charging instrument
; specifically :negotiable instrument


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