Definitions

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

  • adjective Serving as a means or agency; implemental.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or accomplished with an instrument or tool.
  • adjective Music Performed on or written for an instrument.
  • adjective Grammar Of, relating to, or being the case used typically to express means, agency, or accompaniment.
  • adjective Of or relating to instrumentalism.
  • noun Grammar The instrumental case.
  • noun A word or form in the instrumental case.
  • noun Music A composition for one or more instruments, usually without vocal accompaniment.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of the nature of an instrument or tool; serving as an instrument or means; used or serving to promote or effect an object; helpful; serviceable: as, the press has been instrumental in enlarging the bounds of knowledge.
  • Pertaining to, made by, or prepared for instruments, especially musical instruments.
  • In grammar, serving to indicate the instrument or means: applied to a case, as in Sanskrit, involving the notion of by or with.
  • noun An instrument.
  • noun The instrumental case. Compare I., 3.

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

  • adjective Acting as an instrument; serving as a means; contributing to promote; conductive; helpful; serviceable.
  • adjective (Mus.) Pertaining to, made by, or prepared for, an instrument, esp. a musical instrument.
  • adjective (Gram.) Applied to a case expressing means or agency. This is found in Sanskrit and Russian as a separate case, but in Greek it was merged into the dative, and in Latin into the ablative. In Old English it was a separate case, but has disappeared, leaving only a few anomalous forms.
  • adjective those errors in instrumental measurements, etc., which arise, exclusively from lack of mathematical accuracy in an instrument.

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

  • adjective Acting as an instrument; serving as a means; contributing to promote; conductive; helpful; serviceable; essential or central.
  • adjective music Pertaining to, made by, or prepared for, an instrument, especially a musical instrument.
  • adjective grammar Applied to a case expressing means or agency, generally indicated in English by by or with with the objective.
  • noun uncountable, grammar The instrumental case.
  • noun countable, music A composition without lyrics.

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

  • adjective relating to or designed for or performed on musical instruments
  • adjective serving or acting as a means or aid

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Medieval Latin instrumentalis, from instruere ("to build into, set up, construct, furnish, hence "to train""), from in- ("on") + struere ("to put together, arrange, pile up, build, construct"), from Proto-Indo-European *strew- (“to spread, to strew”).

Examples

  • The term instrumental rationality is used because the definition views the actor as pursuing goals, to which he or she is committed for reasons irrelevant to the definition.

    THE MORAL DIMENSION

  • The term instrumental rationality is used because the definition views the actor as pursuing goals, to which he or she is committed for reasons irrelevant to the definition.

    THE MORAL DIMENSION

  • O'Neill (2000) situates the Kantian account of reason against three alternatives, which she labels the instrumental, the communitarian, and the perfectionist.

    Kant's Account of Reason

  • (Finally, I know why that instrumental is called "YYZ.")

    Michael Giltz: DVDs: Ellery Queen , Rush, Casey Affleck and More

  • Composed for sampler (Gosfield), wailing guitar (Roger Kleier), and virtuoso drums/percussion (Joe Berardi), the musical feel was of a powerful but cruder variation of the above Sparks, this time in a rock-inflected, heavy metal style, like a long Grateful Dead instrumental from the 70's pounding relentlessly to conclusion.

    Rodney Punt: Annie Gosfield in Concert -- The Industrial Age Goes Avant-Garde

  • Composed for sampler (Gosfield), wailing guitar (Roger Kleier), and virtuoso drums/percussion (Joe Berardi), the musical feel was of a powerful but cruder variation of the above Sparks, this time in a rock-inflected, heavy metal style, like a long Grateful Dead instrumental from the 70's pounding relentlessly to conclusion.

    Rodney Punt: Annie Gosfield in Concert -- The Industrial Age Goes Avant-Garde

  • Composed for sampler (Gosfield), wailing guitar (Roger Kleier), and virtuoso drums/percussion (Joe Berardi), the musical feel was of a powerful but cruder variation of the above Sparks, this time in a rock-inflected, heavy metal style, like a long Grateful Dead instrumental from the 70's pounding relentlessly to conclusion.

    Rodney Punt: Annie Gosfield in Concert -- The Industrial Age Goes Avant-Garde

  • Composed for sampler (Gosfield), wailing guitar (Roger Kleier), and virtuoso drums/percussion (Joe Berardi), the musical feel was of a powerful but cruder variation of the above Sparks, this time in a rock-inflected, heavy metal style, like a long Grateful Dead instrumental from the 70's pounding relentlessly to conclusion.

    Rodney Punt: Annie Gosfield in Concert -- The Industrial Age Goes Avant-Garde

  • Composed for sampler (Gosfield), wailing guitar (Roger Kleier), and virtuoso drums/percussion (Joe Berardi), the musical feel was of a powerful but cruder variation of the above Sparks, this time in a rock-inflected, heavy metal style, like a long Grateful Dead instrumental from the 70's pounding relentlessly to conclusion.

    Rodney Punt: Annie Gosfield in Concert -- The Industrial Age Goes Avant-Garde

  • Composed for sampler (Gosfield), wailing guitar (Roger Kleier), and virtuoso drums/percussion (Joe Berardi), the musical feel was of a powerful but cruder variation of the above Sparks, this time in a rock-inflected, heavy metal style, like a long Grateful Dead instrumental from the 70's pounding relentlessly to conclusion.

    Rodney Punt: Annie Gosfield in Concert -- The Industrial Age Goes Avant-Garde

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