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