What does instrument mean?

Definitions for instrument
ˈɪn strə məntin·stru·ment

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word instrument.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. instrumentnoun

    a device that requires skill for proper use

  2. instrument, toolnoun

    the means whereby some act is accomplished

    "my greed was the instrument of my destruction"; "science has given us new tools to fight disease"

  3. instrument, pawn, cat's-pawnoun

    a person used by another to gain an end

  4. legal document, legal instrument, official document, instrumentnoun

    (law) a document that states some contractual relationship or grants some right

  5. instrumental role, instrumentnoun

    the semantic role of the entity (usually inanimate) that the agent uses to perform an action or start a process

  6. musical instrument, instrumentverb

    any of various devices or contrivances that can be used to produce musical tones or sounds

  7. instrumentverb

    equip with instruments for measuring, recording, or controlling

  8. instrument, instrumentateverb

    write an instrumental score for

  9. instrumentverb

    address a legal document to


  1. Instrumentnoun

    One who, or that which, is made a means, or is caused to serve a purpose; a medium, means, or agent; as, their army was primarily an instrument of oppression.

    Etymology: [F. instrument, L. instrumentum. See Instruct.]

  2. Instrumentverb

    To furnish or equip with instruments; to attach instruments to; as, the fighter planes were heavily instrumented; the patient was instrumented to monitor him remotely.


  1. instrumentnoun

    A device used to produce music.

    The violinist was a master of her instrument.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  2. instrumentnoun

    A measuring or displaying device.

    The instrument detected an increase in radioactivity.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  3. instrumentnoun

    A tool, implement.

    The dentist set down his tray of instruments.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  4. instrumentnoun

    A legal document, such as a contract, deed, trust, mortgage, power, indenture, or will.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  5. instrumentnoun

    A person used as a mere tool for achieving a goal.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  6. instrumentverb

    To apply measuring devices.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  7. instrumentverb

    To devise, conceive, cook up, plan.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  8. instrumentverb

    To perform upon an instrument; to prepare for an instrument.

    a sonata instrumented for orchestra

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Instrumentnoun

    that by means of which any work is performed, or result is effected; a tool; a utensil; an implement; as, the instruments of a mechanic; astronomical instruments

    Etymology: [F. instrument, L. instrumentum. See Instruct.]

  2. Instrumentnoun

    a contrivance or implement, by which musical sounds are produced; as, a musical instrument

    Etymology: [F. instrument, L. instrumentum. See Instruct.]

  3. Instrumentnoun

    a writing, as the means of giving formal expression to some act; a writing expressive of some act, contract, process, as a deed, contract, writ, etc

    Etymology: [F. instrument, L. instrumentum. See Instruct.]

  4. Instrumentnoun

    one who, or that which, is made a means, or is caused to serve a purpose; a medium, means, or agent

    Etymology: [F. instrument, L. instrumentum. See Instruct.]

  5. Instrumentverb

    to perform upon an instrument; to prepare for an instrument; as, a sonata instrumented for orchestra

    Etymology: [F. instrument, L. instrumentum. See Instruct.]


  1. Instrument

    Instrument is a documentary film directed by Jem Cohen about the band Fugazi. Cohen's relationship with band member Ian MacKaye extends back to the 1970s when the two met in high school in Washington, D.C.. The film takes its title from the Fugazi song of the same name, from their 1993 album, In on the Kill Taker. Editing of the film was done by both Cohen and the members of the band over the course of five years. It was shot from 1987 through 1998 on super 8, 16mm and video and is composed mainly of footage of concerts, interviews with the band members, practices, tours and time spent in the studio recording their 1995 album, Red Medicine. The film also includes portraits of fans as well as interviews with them at various Fugazi shows around the United States throughout the years. The Instrument Soundtrack by Fugazi was released in conjunction with the film. It consisted primarily of instrumental and unreleased songs. When asked what the goal was in making Instrument, Cohen responded: One such misconception is shared in a scene where drummer Brendan Canty tells his bandmates how his sister's boyfriend believes that Fugazi lives in a house together without heat and subsisting on a steady diet of nothing but rice. Cohen has also said that "[o]ne of the reasons why I work with Fugazi and they work with me is that we enjoy traveling through this madness. It's what they write songs about and it's what I try to document in my films."

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Instrument

    in′strōō-ment, n. a tool or utensil: a machine producing musical sounds: a writing containing a contract: one who, or that which, is made a means.—adj. Instrument′al, acting as an instrument or means: serving to promote an object: helpful: belonging to or produced by musical instruments: (gram.) serving to indicate the instrument or means—of a case in Sanskrit, involving the notion of by or with.—ns. Instrument′alist, one who plays on a musical instrument; Instrumental′ity, agency.—adv. Instrument′ally.—n. Instrumentā′tion (mus.), the arrangement of a composition for performance by different instruments: the playing upon musical instruments. [O. Fr.,—L. instrumentuminstruĕre, to instruct.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. instrument

    A term of extensive application among tools and weapons; but it is here introduced as an official conveyance of some right, or the record of some fact.

Editors Contribution

  1. instrument

    A type of product to create music.

    Musical instruments are beautiful to hear and see people playing.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 8, 2020  
  2. instrument

    An official governmental document or contract that creates types of rights or rules.

    The universal declaration of human rights forms an element various governmental instruments throughout the world and all legislation is verified to ensure it is compliant with the universal declaration of human rights.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 8, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'instrument' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3595

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'instrument' in Nouns Frequency: #848

How to pronounce instrument?

How to say instrument in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of instrument in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of instrument in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of instrument in a Sentence

  1. Unknown:

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace where there is hatred, let me sow love where there is injury, pardon where there is doubt, faith where there is despair, hope where there is darkness, light and where there is sadness, joy.

  2. Stephen Menendian:

    Our index is a good diagnostic instrument for trying to get a sense of how countries are faring and how states are faring against each other, but it's not the final word on these issues.

  3. Karoly Reisinger:

    In this design you will be able to hear the 1850-1860 era qualities, lyrical, bell-like, precise – and also the modern instrument that our time is used to, which is clarity.

  4. Shmuel Hauser:

    Our proposal is intended to create an investment instrument for the general public that will enable it to participate for the first time in the success of Israeli technology companies, while providing state protection.

  5. Angela Merkel:

    Too often, the lines of freedom of speech are very deliberately being tested, and taboos are carelessly being breached and used as a political instrument, it's not banter, rather it's playing with fire. Because whoever sows violence with words, risks reaping violence.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for instrument

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for instrument »


Find a translation for the instrument definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these instrument definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "instrument." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 27 May 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/instrument>.

    Are we missing a good definition for instrument? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    relating to a technique that does not involve puncturing the skin or entering a body cavity
    • A. noninvasive
    • B. cosmopolitan
    • C. transparent
    • D. disjointed

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for instrument: