1. equipped with instruments to perform specified functions, as testing, measurement, or control: an instrumented railroad car.


  1. a mechanical tool or implement, especially one used for delicate or precision work: surgical instruments.
  2. a contrivance or apparatus for producing musical sounds: a stringed instrument.
  3. a means by which something is effected or done; agency: an instrument of government.
  4. a device for measuring the present value of a quantity under observation.
  5. a mechanical or electronic measuring device, especially one used in navigation: landing a plane by instruments.
  6. a formal legal document, as a draft or bond: negotiable instruments.
  7. a person used by another merely as a means to some private end; tool or dupe.

verb (used with object)

  1. to equip with instruments, as a machine or manufacturing process: to instrument a space vehicle.
  2. to arrange a composition for musical instruments; orchestrate.

noun (ˈɪnstrəmənt)

  1. a mechanical implement or tool, esp one used for precision worksurgical instrument
  2. music any of various contrivances or mechanisms that can be played to produce musical tones or sounds
  3. an important factor or agency in somethingher evidence was an instrument in his arrest
  4. informal a person used by another to gain an end; dupe; tool
  5. a measuring device, such as a pressure gauge or ammeter
    1. a device or system for use in navigation or control, esp of aircraft
    2. (as modifier)instrument landing
  6. a formal legal document

verb (ˈɪnstrəˌmɛnt) (tr)

  1. another word for orchestrate (def. 1)
  2. to equip with instruments

late 13c., “musical instrument,” from Old French instrument “means, device; musical instrument” (14c., earlier estrument, 13c.) and directly from Latin instrumentem “a tool, apparatus, furniture, dress, document,” from instruere “arrange, furnish” (see instruct). Meaning “tool, implement, utensil” is early 14c. in English; meaning “written document by which formal expression is given to a legal act” is from early 15c.


  1. A tool or implement, as for surgery.

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