Meaning of “instrument” in the English Dictionary

"instrument" in British English

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instrumentnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈɪn.strə.mənt/ us /ˈɪn.strə.mənt/

instrument noun [ C ] (MUSIC)

A2 also musical instrument an object, such as a piano, guitar, or drum, that is played to produce musical sounds:

Which instrument do you play?

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instrument noun [ C ] (TOOL)

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.

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.

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.

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instrument noun [ C ] (FINANCE)

a type of investment in a company or in government debt that can be traded on the financial markets:

They trade in the debt instruments of developing countries.

(Definition of “instrument” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"instrument" in American English

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instrumentnoun [ C ]

us /ˈɪn·strə·mənt/

instrument noun [ C ] (MUSIC)

an object, such as a piano, guitar, or flute, which is played to produce musical sounds:

He plays saxophone, trumpet, and several other instruments.

instrument noun [ C ] (TOOL)

a tool or other device used for doing a particular piece of work:

surgical instruments

(Definition of “instrument” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"instrument" in Business English

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instrumentnoun [ C ]

also financial instrument uk /ˈɪnstrəmənt/ us

FINANCE a financial asset that can be bought or sold, such as a bond, share, or other security :

Fixed-income instruments include bonds, Treasury bills, and notes.
This will still leave sufficient funds in low-risk instruments such as the debt market.
Hedging instruments such as futures contracts are priced in dollars.

a tool, especially one without electrical power, used for performing a particular piece of work:

surgical/precision/optical instrument The first optical instruments were telescopes.

a piece of equipment used for measuring speed, height, etc. in vehicles, especially aircraft:

flight instruments

a way of achieving or causing something:

The main instrument of change was the bank credit card.

LAW a legal document:

This is a legal instrument and both claims will have to be decided by the English High Court.

(Definition of “instrument” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)