American English

Definition of instrument noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1a tool or device used for a particular task, especially for delicate or scientific work surgical/optical/precision, etc. instruments instruments of torture
  2. 2= musical instrument Is he learning an instrument? brass/stringed, etc. instruments
  3. 3a device used for measuring speed, distance, temperature, etc. in a vehicle or on a piece of machinery the flight instruments the instrument panel
  4. 4(formal) something that is used by someone in order to achieve something; a person or thing that makes something happen instrument for something/for doing something The law is not the best instrument for dealing with family matters. instrument of something an instrument of change
  5. 5instrument of somebody/something (formal) a person who is used and controlled by someone or something that is more powerful an instrument of fate
  6. 6(law) a formal legal document
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: instrument