Definition of instrumental in English:


Syllabification: in·stru·men·tal
Pronunciation: /ˌinstrəˈmentl


  • 1Serving as an instrument or means in pursuing an aim or policy: the society was instrumental in bringing about legislation
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    • They went to war together and both were instrumental in a victory that many consider a defining moment in Canadian hockey history.
    • A few well chosen elements of directorial interpretation are instrumental in making this production more suited to and enjoyable for its audience.
    • The strategy, which was instrumental in Microsoft's victory in the so-called browser wars, is being replayed in the digital media market.
    involved, active, influential, contributory; helpful, useful, of service; significant, important, crucial, critical, essential, pivotal, key; (be instrumental in) play a part in, contribute to, be a factor in, have a hand in; add to, help, promote, advance, further; be conducive to, lead to, cause
  • 1.1Relating to something’s function as an instrument or means to an end: a very instrumental view of education and how it relates to their needs
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    • To some who hold an intrinsic view of education, instrumental education is nothing more than training.
    • The process of naming brands of dope and the choice of images represented in dope stamps have a number of functions not related to the instrumental functions employed by users and distributors.
    • They lead to an overly instrumental view of education that emphasizes the immediate needs of self-interested parties and programs of study that have economic returns.
  • 2(Of music) performed on instruments, not sung: a largely instrumental piece
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    • There follow three chapters dealing with other sources grouped by genre: sacred music, theatre music and vocal, keyboard and instrumental music.
    • Concerts of vocal and instrumental music were given regularly.
    • Although his musical output was modest, his vocal and instrumental music speaks in a highly personal voice.
  • 2.1Relating to musical instruments: brilliance of instrumental color
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    • A dense libretto, by the composer, and an expressionistic musical style, which searches out new instrumental colors, make this opera a masterpiece.
    • It is music without any rhetoric or goal, in which periods of time (increasingly lengthy as he got older) are filled with washes of instrumental colour.
    • If the score breaks no new ground for Glass, the fine brush strokes of instrumental color lend texture and atmosphere to every scene, especially in the first opera.
  • 3Of or relating to an implement or measuring device: instrumental error instrumental delivery of a baby
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    • The distribution of true ages may be only approximated by the measured distribution, because the latter can be disturbed by fluctuations in measured age caused by instrumental error.
    • In electronic devices, even a negligible instrumental error can totally degrade the system compared to electro-mechanical ones.
    • The organoleptic quality of tomato fruit involves a set of attributes (flavour, aroma, texture) that can be evaluated either by sensory analyses or by instrumental measures.
  • 4 Grammar Denoting or relating to a case of nouns and pronouns (and words in grammatical agreement with them) indicating a means or instrument.
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    • In Russian, the instrumental case is used to indicate how something is done.


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  • 1A piece of (usually nonclassical) music performed solely by instruments, with no vocals.
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    • Her music presents instrumentals and melodies that blend classical, contemporary jazz, pop and African rhythms into a seamless style.
    • It has a beautiful melody and instrumentals while Green sings of her love of music.
    • With its haunting vocals and enchanting instrumentals, this song will leave you lusting for more.
  • 2 (the instrumental) Grammar The instrumental case.
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    • Of the five inflectional cases which are commonly ascribed to the Old English noun, the instrumental is the one least obvious.
  • 2.1A noun in the instrumental case.
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    • Grammatically, it is an instrumental.



More example sentences
  • They don't see themselves as illicit drug users, principally because they're using the drugs instrumentally - as tools rather than for recreational or hedonistic purposes.
  • Regan argues that using animals instrumentally is wrong because animals share important psychological states and dispositions with humans.
  • This is an album of bittersweet love stories expressed instrumentally - introspective, dreamy and impressionistic, yet joyful and exuberant.

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Pronunciation: mɪˈlɔːd
used to address an English nobleman