- a mechanical tool or implement, especially one used for delicate or precision work: surgical instruments.
- a contrivance or apparatus for producing musical sounds: a stringed instrument.
- a means by which something is effected or done; agency: an instrument of government.
- a device for measuring the present value of a quantity under observation.
- a mechanical or electronic measuring device, especially one used in navigation: landing a plane by instruments.
- a formal legal document, as a draft or bond: negotiable instruments.
- a person used by another merely as a means to some private end; tool or dupe.
- to equip with instruments, as a machine or manufacturing process: to instrument a space vehicle.
- to arrange a composition for musical instruments; orchestrate.
Origin of instrument
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for instrument
Law has been rebuilt in the last 50 years to be an instrument of control, not a framework for human responsibility.Red Tape Is Strangling Good Samaritans
Philip K. Howard
December 27, 2014
And the chord structure, for those of you who play an instrument, is unexpected and worth checking out.Yes, I Like Christmas Music. Stop Laughing.
December 24, 2014
On the other hand, they might have this lawsuit to thank for putting an instrument in their hands in the first place.‘No Stairway, Denied!’ Led Zeppelin Lawsuit Winds on Down the Road
October 22, 2014
He was the instrument God had chosen to introduce me to my spiritual path and guru.When Gary Wright Met George Harrison: Dream Weaver, John and Yoko, and More
September 29, 2014
Today we know that the Big Bertha was an instrument not of “strikes” but war.What Did You Do in the Targeted Action, Daddy?
September 12, 2014
As respects this allocation, how would I modify that instrument?'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
But the knowledge of the instrument once acquired never left Shakespeare.The Man Shakespeare
It was only in this room at Mrs. Menotti's that Rico fully enjoyed his instrument.Rico and Wiseli
The finer the instrument is to be, the more massive must be the foundation.Understanding the Scriptures
It is not every singer that could keep Time with his voice and instrument, for a whole evening.Time's Portraiture
- a mechanical implement or tool, esp one used for precision worksurgical instrument
- music any of various contrivances or mechanisms that can be played to produce musical tones or sounds
- an important factor or agency in somethingher evidence was an instrument in his arrest
- informal a person used by another to gain an end; dupe; tool
- a measuring device, such as a pressure gauge or ammeter
- a device or system for use in navigation or control, esp of aircraft
- (as modifier)instrument landing
- a formal legal document
- another word for orchestrate (def. 1)
- to equip with instruments
Word Origin and History for instrument
late 13c., "musical instrument," from Old French instrument "means, device; musical instrument" (14c., earlier estrument, 13c.) and directly from Latin instrumentem "a tool, apparatus, furniture, dress, document," from instruere "arrange, furnish" (see instruct). Meaning "tool, implement, utensil" is early 14c. in English; meaning "written document by which formal expression is given to a legal act" is from early 15c.
- A tool or implement, as for surgery.