Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “instrument”


noun [C] (TOOL)    /ˈɪn.strə.mənt/
C1 a tool or other device , especially one without electrical power , used for performing a particular piece of work : surgical instruments instruments of torture The man's injuries had obviously been caused by a blunt instrument.Tools in general a device used for measuring speed , height , etc. in vehicles , especially aircraft : the instrument panel The lightning had damaged the plane's instruments, and they weren't giving any readings .The interior of vehiclesWeighing, measuring and counting devices C2 formal a way of achieving or causing something: He saw the theatre as an instrument of change - a way of forcing people to consider social and political issues .Ways of achieving things
(Definition of instrument noun (TOOL) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of instrument

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Tools in general, but you might be interested in these topics from the Household equipment topic area:

Definitions of “instrument” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


a good knowledge of something, or the fact that you know it so well

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More