Definition of instrumental in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnstrʊˈmɛnt(ə)l/


1Serving as a means of pursuing an aim: the Society was instrumental in bringing about legislation
More example sentences
  • 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, of help/assistance, useful, of use/service;
significant, important;
(be instrumental in) play a part in, contribute to, be a factor in, be (partly) responsible for, have a hand in;
add to, help, promote, advance, further, forward, oil the wheels of, open the door for, be conducive to, make for;
lead to, cause, give rise to
formal conduce to
1.1Relating to something’s function as a means to an end: a very instrumental view of education and how it relates to their needs
More example sentences
  • 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, with no vocals: a largely instrumental piece
More example sentences
  • 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 colour
More example sentences
  • 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.
3Relating to an implement or measuring device: instrumental error instrumental delivery of a baby
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • In Russian, the instrumental case is used to indicate how something is done.


1A piece of (usually non-classical) music performed by instruments, with no vocals: the opening tune is an instrumental
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • Grammatically, it is an instrumental.



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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Line breaks: in¦stru|men¦tal

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