• Instrument


    • IPA: /ˈɪnstɹʊmənt/


    From Old French instrument, from Latin īnstrūmentum ("an implement, tool"). suffix -mentum.

    Full definition of instrument



    (plural instruments)
    1. A device used to produce music.The violinist was a master of her instrument.
    2. A means or agency for achieving an effect.
      • 1905, w, w:The Case of Miss Elliott Chapter 1, “There the cause of death was soon ascertained ; the victim of this daring outrage had been stabbed to death from ear to ear with a long, sharp instrument, in shape like an antique stiletto, which was subsequently found under the cushions of the hansom. 
    3. A measuring or displaying device.The instrument detected an increase in radioactivity.
    4. A tool, implement used for manipulation or measurement.The dentist set down his tray of instruments. The scientist recorded the temperature with a thermometer but wished he had a more accurate instrument."
    5. (legal) A legal document, such as a contract, deed, trust, mortgage, power, indenture, or will.A bond indenture is the instrument that gives a bond its value.Negotiable instruments are the foundation of the debt markets.
    6. (figuratively) A person used as a mere tool for achieving a goal.
      • ShakespeareOr useful serving man and instrument,
        To any sovereign state.
      • DrydenThe bold are but the instruments of the wise.



    1. (transitive) To apply measuring devices.
    2. (transitive) To devise, conceive, cook up, plan.
    3. To perform upon an instrument; to prepare for an instrument.a sonata instrumented for orchestra


    • (to apply measuring devices) measure, supervise
    • (to devise, conceive)
    • (to perform on an instrument) play
    • (to prepare for an instrument) arrange


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