Definition of instrument noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈɪnstrəmənt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈɪnstrəmənt//
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  1. 1  a tool or device used for a particular task, especially for delicate or scientific work surgical/optical/precision, etc. instruments instruments of torture See related entries: Devices
  2. 2  = musical instrument Is he learning an instrument? brass/stringed, etc. instruments
  3. 3  a device used for measuring speed, distance, temperature, etc. in a vehicle or on a piece of machinery the flight instruments the instrument panel See related entries: Devices
  4. 4(formal) something that is used by somebody 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 somebody/something that is more powerful an instrument of fate
  6. 6(law) a formal legal document
  7. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French, or from Latin instrumentum ‘equipment, implement’, from the verb instruere ‘construct, equip’.Extra examples All pupils should learn to use drawing instruments. All the instruments are made from glass capillary tubing. Criminal law is not the best instrument for dealing with family matters. Ensure the instrument is tuned to concert pitch. Even though it was a somewhat blunt instrument= not very precise, our questionnaire provided us with some interesting ideas. Internet polls are considered to be better instruments than telephone polls. More effective instruments of oversight are needed. She plays three musical instruments. She was accused of making a public service an instrument of private advantage. Some cynics say that popular music is a mere instrument of capitalist domination. The autopsy revealed that the deceased had been hit with a blunt instrument. The despot claimed to be the chosen instrument of divine providence. The instrument sounds like a cello. The piece can be played on a keyboard instrument. The pilot did his instrument checks and taxied towards the runway. The score was written to be played on a keyboard instrument. There was a warning light flashing on the instrument panel. They agreed that the UN was the best instrument for reaching agreement. They saw criminal law as an instrument for improving public morals. Until 1990 all money market instruments when bought or sold were physically delivered to the buyer. a set of mathematical instruments an instrument made by a violin maker in Canada an instrument that measures light intensity baroque music played on period instruments credit instruments issued by banks medieval instruments of torture such as the rack and the wheel the use of language as an instrument of power and social control to read the instruments and make a note of the wind speed and direction Financial aid can become an instrument of control rather than a support. This pen is the ideal precision instrument for all your graphic needs. surgical instruments
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: instrument