Meaning of INSTRUMENT in English

in ‧ stru ‧ ment W2 /ˈɪnstrəmənt, ˈɪnstrʊmənt/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: instrumentum , from instruere ; ⇨ ↑ instruct ]

1 . TOOL a small tool used in work such as science or medicine:

surgical instruments

2 . MUSIC an object used for producing music, such as a piano or ↑ violin SYN musical instrument ⇨ instrumental , instrumentalist :

electronic instruments

brass/wind/percussion/stringed etc instrument

3 . FOR MEASURING a piece of equipment for measuring and showing distance, speed, temperature etc:

a failure of the flight instruments

sensitive earthquake-detecting instruments

4 . METHOD [usually singular] something or someone that is used to get a particular result

instrument of

Interest rates are an important instrument of economic policy.

instrument for (doing) something

Good management should be an instrument for innovation.

5 . FOR HURTING something that is used to hit or hurt someone:

Death was due to a blow on the head with a blunt instrument.

instrument of torture (=an object used to make people suffer pain until they give information)

6 . instrument of fate/God literary someone or something that is used by a power beyond our control

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ play an instrument

Can you play a musical instrument?

▪ learn to play an instrument ( also learn an instrument )

All students at the school have the opportunity to learn an instrument.

▪ tune an instrument (=make it play at the right pitch)

The musicians were tuning their instruments before the concert began.

▪ hire an instrument

You could hire an instrument from a music shop.

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + instrument

▪ a wind/woodwind instrument

Violas blend very well with most of the wind instruments.

▪ a brass instrument

The tuba is the deepest of the brass instruments.

▪ a string/stringed instrument

He spent many hours playing string instruments of all kinds.

▪ a keyboard instrument

Keyboard instruments are relatively easy to learn.

▪ a percussion instrument (=one that you hit)

Children can learn to play percussion instruments through games and songs.

▪ an electronic instrument

An electronic instrument requires no tuning and very little maintenance.

▪ a solo instrument (=one that can be played on its own)

The organ has increasingly become recognized as a solo instrument in its own right.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.