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. instrument(noun)

    a device that requires skill for proper use

  2. instrument, tool(noun)

    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-paw(noun)

    a person used by another to gain an end

  4. legal document, legal instrument, official document, instrument(noun)

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

  5. instrumental role, instrument(noun)

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

  6. musical instrument, instrument(verb)

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

  7. instrument(verb)

    equip with instruments for measuring, recording, or controlling

  8. instrument, instrumentate(verb)

    write an instrumental score for

  9. instrument(verb)

    address a legal document to


  1. Instrument(n.)

    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. Instrument(v. t.)

    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. instrument(Noun)

    A device used to produce music.

    The violinist was a master of her instrument.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  2. instrument(Noun)

    A measuring or displaying device.

    The instrument detected an increase in radioactivity.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  3. instrument(Noun)

    A tool, implement.

    The dentist set down his tray of instruments.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  4. instrument(Noun)

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

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  5. instrument(Noun)

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

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  6. instrument(Verb)

    To apply measuring devices.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  7. instrument(Verb)

    To devise, conceive, cook up, plan.

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

  8. instrument(Verb)

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

    a sonata instrumented for orchestra

    Etymology: From instrumentum. suffix -mentum.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Instrument(noun)

    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. Instrument(noun)

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

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

  3. Instrument(noun)

    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. Instrument(noun)

    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. Instrument(verb)

    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?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say instrument in sign language?

  1. instrument


  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. J. S . Bach:

    There is nothing remarkable about it, all one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.

  2. Dmitry Gudkov:

    If we lose now, elections will cease to exist as a political instrument, what we're talking about is whether it's legal to participate in politics today in Russia, we're talking about the country we're going to live in.

  3. The Kremlin leader:

    I am certain that if all this did not take place... they would come up with another reason to contain Russia's growing capabilities, whenever anyone thinks Russia has become strong, they resort to this instrument.

  4. Federica Mogherini:

    Like China, our European priority is for the violence to stop in the east of Ukraine. Our efforts, as Europeans, are all focused on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, and we are concretely contributing to that, at the same time, the European Union has developed a policy of sanctions towards Russia, but I could not stress enough in all my speeches that a sanctions policy is not in itself a policy - it's an instrument, a tool. And as such we are keeping that as long as the Mink agreement is not fully implemented.

  5. Simon Hanson:

    Drummers can have the effect of two bass drums by having a pedal which is double where you only have one and the mechanism will play as if it's a double bass drum. It's similar to that in a way, i think because the drummer's not directly controlling it from his brain - although it looks like might be able to do that in the future, which has its own complications - it would for me be an add-on to a kit so I could trigger a sample or a different instrument. The basic drum kit is great. Two hands are okay and when I'm producing and there's other drummers playing I get them to play with one hand because I think drums with one hand sounds better in many ways.

Images & Illustrations of instrument

  1. instrumentinstrumentinstrumentinstrumentinstrument

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Translations for instrument

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"instrument." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 10 Aug. 2020. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/instrument>.

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