Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A tool or implement used to do or facilitate work, especially a small precision tool used by a professional.
  • noun A device for recording, measuring, or controlling, especially such a device functioning as part of a control system.
  • noun Music A device for playing or producing music.
  • noun A means by which something is done; an agency.
  • noun One used by another to accomplish a purpose; a dupe.
  • noun A legal document, especially one that represents a right of payment or conveys an interest, such as a check, promissory note, deed, or will.
  • transitive verb To provide or equip with instruments.
  • transitive verb Music To compose or arrange for performance.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In music, to compose or arrange for instruments, especially for an orchestra; score.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun One who is used by another; a human tool.
  • noun 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.
  • noun See the adjectives. Synonyms Implement, Utensil, etc. See tool.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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.

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

    Archive 2007-09-01

  • 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

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

    Feel the Rhythm

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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)

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