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definition of the word instrumental

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From Middle English < Mediaeval Latin instrumentalis < instruere ("to build into, set up, construct, furnish," hence "to train") < in- ("on") + struere ("to put together, arrange, pile up, build, construct") < Proto-Indo-European *streu- ("to spread, extend, stretch out").

instrumental (comparative more instrumental, superlative most instrumental)


more instrumental

most instrumental

  1. Acting as an instrument; serving as a means; contributing to promote; conductive; helpful; serviceable; essential or central.
    He was instrumental in conducting the business.
    • The head is not more native to the heart, The hand more instrumental to the mouth β€” Shakespeare, Hamlet, I,ii
  2. (music): Pertaining to, made by, or prepared for, an instrument, especially a musical instrument; as, instrumental music, distinguished from vocal music.
    • He defended the use of instrumental music in public worship. β€” Macaulay
    • Sweet voices mix'd with instrumental sounds. β€” Dryden
  3. (grammar): Applied to a case expressing means or agencyβ€”and is generally indicated in English by by or with with the objective; as, the instrumental case. This is found in Sanskrit as a separate case, but in Greek it was merged into the dative, and in Latin into the ablative. In Old English it was a separate case, but has disappeared, leaving only a few anomalous forms. It continues to be used in Slavic languages.


countable and uncountable; instrumentals

instrumental (countable and uncountable; plural instrumentals)

  1. (uncountable, grammar) The instrumental case.
  2. (countable, music) A composition without lyrics.

Definition from Wiktionary
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