Definitions

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

  • 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.
  • In music, to compose or arrange for instruments, especially for an orchestra; score.

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

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin īnstrūmentum, tool, implement, from īnstruere, to prepare; see instruct.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin īnstrūmentum ("an implement, tool"). suffix -mentum. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In addition to the health hazards of ringing ears and thundering headaches, a by-product of mindlessly blowing on this instrument is the accumulation of a huge amount of saliva.

    Global Voices in English » South Africa: To vuvuzela or not to vuvuzela?

  • I'd have to suffer for the song your instrument is a canvas on which metaphors are composed my absurd white masterpiece breaks with raw passion as she balances more paint on her glorious nude silhouette

    poem on the wall

  • Its inventor, Dr. Beverly B. McCollum of Los Angeles, Calif., demonstrates in the picture at the right how the instrument is then mounted for use in tooling a plate to just the right shape to give the most comfortable fit in the mouth.

    2006 August

  • W e expect more from singers than we do from instrumentalists, because words speak to us in a way no trumpet or saxophone can — and because their instrument is also ours.

    The Singing Epidemic

  • Jelly: I don't know if it can be "air" if the instrument is actually there.

    Archive 2006-05-01

  • They asked him to let them smoke in _the pipe_, which was the name by which he called the instrument with the little bowl.

    Traditions of the North American Indians, Vol. 1 (of 3)

  • The dome that covers. the instrument is the largest moving dome in the world.

    Photographing the Sky

  • The man that plays the instrument is the "Gouzlar."

    The Plight of Montenegro

  • In the Indian summer of 1859 the genius of Emancipation was incarnated in the persons of John Brown and his motley score of followers; in the autumn of 1862 her instrument is the President of the United States, wielding the military and financial resources of one of the richest and most powerful nations of the earth.

    The Downfall of American Slavery

  • He gave up what he called his instrument of sin when he found God in the early 1990s.

    JournalStar.com - News Articles

Comments

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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'

    March 21, 2008