instrumental

[ in-struh-men-tl ]
/ ˌɪn strəˈmɛn tl /

adjective

serving or acting as an instrument or means; useful; helpful.
performed on or written for a musical instrument or instruments: instrumental music.
of or relating to an instrument or tool.
Grammar.
  1. (in certain inflected languages, as Old English and Russian) noting or pertaining to a case having as its distinctive function the indication of means or agency, as Old English beseah blīthe andweitan “looked with a happy countenance.”
  2. noting the affix or other element characteristic of this case, or a word containing such an element.
  3. similar to such a case form in function or meaning, as the Latin instrumental ablative, gladiō, “by means of a sword.”
  4. (in case grammar) pertaining to the semantic role of a noun phrase that indicates the inanimate, nonvolitional, immediate cause of the action expressed by a verb, as the rock in The rock broke the window or in I broke the window with the rock.

noun

Grammar.
  1. the instrumental case.
  2. a word in the instrumental case.
  3. a construction of similar meaning.
a musical composition played by an instrument or a group of instruments.Compare vocal(def 8).

Origin of instrumental

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word instrūmentālis. See instrument, -al1

Related forms

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for instrumental

British Dictionary definitions for instrumental

instrumental

/ (ˌɪnstrəˈmɛntəl) /

adjective

serving as a means or influence; helpful
of, relating to, or characterized by an instrument or instruments
played by or composed for musical instruments
grammar denoting a case of nouns, etc, in certain inflected languages, indicating the instrument used in performing an action, usually translated into English using the prepositions with or by means of

noun

a piece of music composed for instruments rather than for voices
grammar
  1. the instrumental case
  2. a word or speech element in the instrumental case

Derived Forms

instrumentality, nouninstrumentally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012