- (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.”
- noting the affix or other element characteristic of this case, or a word containing such an element.
- similar to such a case form in function or meaning, as the Latin instrumental ablative, gladiō, “by means of a sword.”
- (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.
- the instrumental case.
- a word in the instrumental case.
- a construction of similar meaning.
Origin of instrumental
Examples from the Web for instrumental
You write quite a lot about your relationship with your mother and how she was instrumental in your success.
Goebbels was also instrumental in the initial success Strauss had under the Nazis.Top Nazis And Their Complicated Relationship With Artists|William O’Connor|November 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The instrumental view of culture has it wrong, she argues, and should be replaced with what she calls an “expressive view.”
And in 1939, the MOMA building opened that he was instrumental in designing and building.
“It sounds like the kind of decision that a candidate and a campaign would be instrumental in shaping,” she said.Is Ready for Hillary Ready to Fold—or Work With Candidate Clinton?|David Freedlander|November 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The vocal and instrumental combinations are undoubtedly happy and effective.Verdi: Man and Musician|Frederick James Crowest
Freddy has been affectionately taxed by his betrothed with having been instrumental in its despatch, but he has delicately denied.Doctor Cupid|Rhoda Broughton
So long as you are not instrumental in causing death, you may safely eat the flesh.A Civil Servant in Burma|Herbert Thirkel White
During his parliamentary career, in 1837, he was instrumental in passing the copyright act.Hawthorne and His Circle|Julian Hawthorne
Every institution he appointed was to be instrumental to the production of these three grand objects.The Young Maiden|A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
British Dictionary definitions for instrumental
- the instrumental case
- a word or speech element in the instrumental case
Word Origin and History for instrumental
late 14c., "of the nature of an instrument," from Old French instrumental, from Medieval Latin instrumentalis, from Latin instrumentum (see instrument). Meaning "serviceable, useful" is from c.1600. Of music, c.1500; noun meaning "musical composition for instruments only" is attested by 1940. Related: Instrumentally; instrumentality.