from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A means by which something is done; an agency.
  • n. One used by another to accomplish a purpose; a dupe.
  • n. An implement used to facilitate work. See Synonyms at tool.
  • n. A device for recording, measuring, or controlling, especially such a device functioning as part of a control system.
  • n. Music A device for playing or producing music: a keyboard instrument.
  • n. A legal document, such as a deed, will, mortgage, or insurance policy.
  • transitive v. To provide or equip with instruments.
  • transitive v. Music To compose or arrange for performance.
  • transitive v. To address a legal document to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A device used to produce music.
  • n. A measuring or displaying device.
  • n. A tool, implement used for manipulation or measurement
  • n. A legal document, such as a contract, deed, trust, mortgage, power, indenture, or will.
  • n. A person used as a mere tool for achieving a goal.
  • v. To apply measuring devices.
  • v. To devise, conceive, cook up, plan.
  • v. To perform upon an instrument; to prepare for an instrument.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That by means of which any work is performed, or result is effected; a tool; a utensil; an implement; a device
  • n. A contrivance or implement, by which musical sounds are produced.
  • n. 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.
  • n. One who, or that which, is made a means, or is caused to serve a purpose; a medium, means, or agent.
  • transitive v. To perform upon an instrument; to prepare for an instrument.
  • transitive v. To furnish or equip with instruments; to attach instruments to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In music, to compose or arrange for instruments, especially for an orchestra; score.
  • n. Something that serves as a means to the effecting of an end; anything that contributes to the production of an effect or the accomplishment of a purpose; a means; an agency.
  • n. Specifically Something used to produce a mechanical effect; a contrivance with which to perform mechanical work of any kind; a tool, implement, utensil, or machine.
  • n. Specifically In music, a mechanical contrivance or apparatus for producing musical sounds—that is, for setting up, either in a solid body or in a confined body of air, vibrations sufficiently rapid, regular, and definite to produce tones systematically related to one another.
  • n. One who is used by another; a human tool.
  • n. In law, a writing given as the means of creating, securing, modifying, or terminating a right, or affording evidence, as a writing containing the terms of a contract, a deed of conveyance, a grant, a patent, an indenture, etc.
  • n. See the adjectives. Synonyms Implement, Utensil, etc. See tool.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. write an instrumental score for
  • v. address a legal document to
  • n. the semantic role of the entity (usually inanimate) that the agent uses to perform an action or start a process
  • n. the means whereby some act is accomplished
  • n. a person used by another to gain an end
  • n. (law) a document that states some contractual relationship or grants some right
  • v. equip with instruments for measuring, recording, or controlling
  • n. any of various devices or contrivances that can be used to produce musical tones or sounds
  • n. a device that requires skill for proper use


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin īnstrūmentum, tool, implement, from īnstruere, to prepare; see instruct.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin īnstrūmentum ("an implement, tool"). suffix -mentum.


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  • As a verb (well, a form derived from use as a verb anyway): 'Scientists would like to send an instrumented balloon to Titan'

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