Meaning of INSTRUMENTAL in English


I. | ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷|ment ə l adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin instrumentalis, from Latin instrumentum + -alis -al

1. : serving as a means or intermediary determining or leading to a particular result : being an instrument that functions in the promotion of some end or purpose

this novel was instrumental in bringing on open conflict

an instrumental act leading to a reward

2. : relating to, composed for, or performed on a musical instrument

instrumental music

instrumental ensemble

— compare vocal

3. : of, relating to, or done with an instrument

instrumental design

instrumental navigation


a. : of, relating to, or being a case in grammar expressing means or agency

English shows a surviving trace of the instrumental case in the of “the more the merrier”

b. : being a suffixal element that denotes means or agency

5. : based on or in accordance with instrumentalism

• in·stru·men·tal·ly - ə lē, - ə li adverb

II. noun

( -s )

1. obsolete : instrument , means

2. : the instrumental case or a word in that case

3. : a composition played on or for playing on a musical instrument — compare vocal

III. adjective

: operant 2

instrumental learning

instrumental conditioning

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.