instruments; instrumented

An instrument is usually a tool for making music, like a piano or a guitar, but it can also be used for almost any kind of tool or thing you use to get something done.

A thermometer is an instrument for measuring temperature. A violin is an instrument used for making music. Recent economic woes were blamed on the abuse of certain financial instruments, which is just a fancy way of saying "deals." Your eye is a very sensitive light-collecting instrument, though you'll need a man-made instrument, like an X-ray telescope, if you want to see light outside of the visible spectrum.

Definitions of instrument
  1. noun
    the means whereby some act is accomplished
    “my greed was the instrument of my destruction”
    synonyms: tool
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    type of:
    agency, means, way
    how a result is obtained or an end is achieved
  2. noun
    a person used by another to gain an end
    synonyms: cat's-paw, pawn
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    type of:
    assistant, help, helper, supporter
    a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose
  3. noun
    a device that requires skill for proper use
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    analyser, analyzer
    an instrument that performs analyses
    cauterant, cautery
    an instrument or substance used to destroy tissue for medical reasons (eg removal of a wart) by burning it with a hot iron or an electric current or a caustic or by freezing it
    drafting instrument
    an instrument used by a draftsman in making drawings
    an instrument or machine that is used in warfare, such as a battering ram, catapult, artillery piece, etc.
    an instrument for extracting tight-fitting components
    instrument of execution
    an instrument designed and used to take the life of a condemned person
    instrument of punishment
    an instrument designed and used to punish a condemned person
    measuring device, measuring instrument, measuring system
    instrument that shows the extent or amount or quantity or degree of something
    medical instrument
    instrument used in the practice of medicine
    navigational instrument
    an instrument used for navigating
    optical instrument
    an instrument designed to aid vision
    an instrument (usually driven by a computer) for drawing graphs or pictures
    scientific instrument
    an instrument used by scientists
    an instrument that uses the differential transmission and reflection of ultrasonic waves in order to provide an image of a bodily organ
    surveying instrument, surveyor's instrument
    an instrument used by surveyors
    an instrument used to make tracings
    arm, weapon, weapon system
    any instrument or instrumentality used in fighting or hunting
    an instrument with a handle and a flexible lash that is used for whipping
    accelerator, atom smasher, particle accelerator
    a scientific instrument that increases the kinetic energy of charged particles
    an instrument for measuring the acceleration of aircraft or rockets
    an instrument for measuring the intensity of electromagnetic radiation (usually by the photochemical effect)
    device for measuring pain caused by pressure
    alidad, alidade
    surveying instrument used with a plane table for drawing lines of sight on a distant object and for measuring angles
    alidad, alidade
    surveying instrument consisting of the upper movable part of a theodolite including the telescope and its attachments
    an instrument that measures the altitude and azimuth of celestial bodies; used in navigation
    an instrument that measures the height above ground; used in navigation
    artificial horizon, flight indicator, gyro horizon
    a navigational instrument based on a gyroscope; it artificially provides a simulated horizon for the pilot
    atmometer, evaporometer
    an instrument that measures rate of evaporation of water
    audiometer, sonometer
    an instrument used to measure the sensitivity of hearing
    ballistocardiograph, cardiograph
    a medical instrument that measures the mechanical force of cardiac contractions and the amount of blood passing through the heart during a specified period by measuring the recoil of the body as blood is pumped from the ventricles
    an instrument that measures atmospheric pressure
    bathometer, bathymeter
    an instrument that measures the depth of water
    battering ram
    a ram used to break down doors of fortified buildings
    binoculars, field glasses, opera glasses
    an optical instrument designed for simultaneous use by both eyes
    an instrument that measures heat radiation; extremely sensitive
    a weapon for shooting arrows, composed of a curved piece of resilient wood with a taut cord to propel the arrow
    bow and arrow
    a weapon consisting of arrows and the bow to shoot them
    brass knuckles, brass knucks, knuckle duster, knuckles, knucks
    a small metal weapon; worn over the knuckles on the back of the hand
    a slender tubular instrument used to examine the bronchial tubes
    buret, burette
    measuring instrument consisting of a graduated glass tube with a tap at the bottom; used for titration
    caliper, calliper
    an instrument for measuring the distance between two points (often used in the plural)
    a measuring instrument that determines quantities of heat
    an instrument of punishment formerly used in China for petty criminals; consists of a heavy wooden collar enclosing the neck and arms
    cardiograph, electrocardiograph
    medical instrument that records electric currents associated with contractions of the heart
    arbalest, arbalist, ballista, bricole, catapult, mangonel, onager, trebuchet, trebucket
    an engine that provided medieval artillery used during sieges; a heavy war engine for hurling large stones and other missiles
    cat, cat-o'-nine-tails
    a whip with nine knotted cords
    an instrument for accurate measurements of small intervals of time
    clinometer, inclinometer
    an instrument used by surveyors in order to measure an angle of inclination or elevation
    colorimeter, tintometer
    a measuring instrument used in colorimetric analysis to determine the quantity of a substance from the color it yields with specific reagents
    navigational instrument for finding directions
    drafting instrument used for drawing circles
    a scientific instrument consisting of displays and an input device that an operator can use to monitor and control a system (especially a computer system)
    counter tube
    a measuring instrument for counting individual ionizing events
    a heavy flexible whip braided from leather made from the hide of a cow
    an instrument for measuring skull sizes
    an instrument for destroying tissue by freezing it
    a measuring instrument for measuring freezing and melting points
    cucking stool, ducking stool
    an instrument of punishment consisting of a chair in which offenders were ducked in water
    declinometer, transit declinometer
    an instrument for measuring magnetic declination
    densimeter, densitometer
    a measuring instrument for determining density or specific gravity
    a measuring instrument for determining optical or photographic density
    depth finder
    navigational instrument used to measure the depth of a body of water (as by ultrasound or radar)
    dialysis machine, dialyzer
    a medical instrument for separating substances in solution by unequal diffusion through semipermeable membranes
    diathermy machine
    a medical instrument for local heating of bodily tissues for medical purposes
    a drafting instrument resembling a compass that is used for dividing lines into equal segments or for transferring measurements
    dosemeter, dosimeter
    a measuring instrument for measuring doses of ionizing radiation (X-rays or radioactivity)
    dynamometer, ergometer
    measuring instrument designed to measure power
    a sonograph that creates an image of the heart and its abnormalities
    a sonograph that creates an image of the brain and its abnormalities
    chair, death chair, electric chair, hot seat
    an instrument of execution by electrocution; resembles an ordinary seat for one person
    measuring instrument that uses the interaction of the magnetic fields of two coils to measure current or voltage or power
    medical instrument that records electric currents generated by the brain
    a medical instrument that records the electrical waves associated with the activity of skeletal muscles
    measuring instrument that detects electric charge; two gold leaves diverge owing to repulsion of charges with like sign
    a long slender medical instrument for examining the interior of a bodily organ or performing minor surgery
    esophagoscope, oesophagoscope
    an optical instrument for examining the inside of the esophagus
    measuring instrument consisting of a graduated glass tube for measuring volume changes in chemical reactions between gases
    a flexible medical instrument involving fiber optics that is used to examine internal organs
    fire ship
    a weapon consisting of a ship carrying explosives that is set adrift to destroy enemy ships
    a weapon that squirts ignited fuel for several yards
    an extractor consisting of a pair of pincers used in medical treatment (especially for the delivery of babies)
    an instrument of execution consisting of a wooden frame from which a condemned person is executed by hanging
    garotte, garrote, garrotte, iron collar
    an instrument of execution for execution by strangulation
    death chamber, gas chamber
    instrument of execution consisting of a sealed chamber into which poison gas is introduced; used to kill people or animals
    gage, gauge
    a measuring instrument for measuring and indicating a quantity such as the thickness of wire or the amount of rain etc.
    a measuring instrument for measuring fluid volume; a glass container (cup or cylinder or flask) whose sides are marked with or divided into amounts
    gravimeter, gravity meter
    a measuring instrument for measuring variations in the gravitational field of the earth
    instrument of execution that consists of a weighted blade between two vertical poles; used for beheading people
    a weapon that discharges a missile at high velocity (especially from a metal tube or barrel)
    an instrument used to measure the angular separation of two stars that are too far apart to be included in the field of view of an ordinary telescope
    haematocrit, hematocrit
    a measuring instrument to determine (usually by centrifugation) the relative amounts of corpuscles and plasma in the blood
    (physics) scientific instrument that traces the path of a charged particle
    a whip for controlling horses
    gravimeter, hydrometer
    a measuring instrument for determining the specific gravity of a liquid or solid
    measuring instrument for measuring the relative humidity of the atmosphere
    dip circle, inclinometer
    a measuring instrument for measuring the angle of magnetic dip (as from an airplane)
    an instrument showing the angle that an aircraft makes with the horizon
    instrument of torture
    an instrument of punishment designed and used to inflict torture on the condemned person
    integrator, planimeter
    a measuring instrument for measuring the area of an irregular plane figure
    any measuring instrument that uses interference patterns to make accurate measurements of waves
    ionization chamber, ionization tube
    a measuring instrument that measures the amount of ionizing radiation
    jeweler's glass
    an optical instrument used by jewelers; has one or more lenses and is used to view features not readily seen
    measures thermal conductivity
    medical instrument to examine the cornea in order to detect irregularities in its anterior surface
    kicksorter, pulse height analyzer
    scientific instrument consisting of an electronic circuit that permits only voltage pulses of predetermined height to pass
    a weapon with a handle and blade with a sharp point
    a whip with a lash of leather thongs twisted with wire; used for flogging prisoners
    Kundt's tube
    a measuring instrument used to measure the speed of sound
    cymograph, kymograph
    scientific instrument consisting of a rotating drum holding paper on which a stylus traces a continuous record (as of breathing or blood pressure)
    a medical instrument for examining the larynx
    a measuring system that detects and locates objects on the same principle as radar but uses light from a laser; a potential technology for detecting air turbulence that can affect aircraft
    light arm
    a rifle or pistol
    measuring instrument that consists of a float that trails from a ship by a knotted line in order to measure the ship's speed through the water
    a scientific instrument that registers magnetic variations (especially variations of the earth's magnetic field)
    a scientific instrument that magnifies an image
    measure, measuring rod, measuring stick
    measuring instrument having a sequence of marks at regular intervals; used as a reference in making measurements
    any of various measuring instruments for measuring a quantity
    scientific instrument that cuts thin slices of something for microscopic examination
    a rocket carrying a warhead of conventional or nuclear explosives; may be ballistic or directed by remote control
    a measuring instrument that uses a grid for measuring the altitude, direction, and velocity of movement of clouds
    a measuring instrument for measuring angles to a celestial body; similar to a sextant but with 45 degree calibration
    medical instrument for examining the retina of the eye
    auriscope, auroscope, otoscope
    medical instrument consisting of a magnifying lens and light; used for examining the external ear (the auditory meatus and especially the tympanic membrane)
    a measuring instrument that measures the oxygen in arterial blood
    an instrument of punishment consisting of a flat board
    measuring instrument for recording the number of steps taken in walking
    measuring instrument for performing pelvimetry
    an optical instrument that provides a view of an otherwise obstructed field
    measuring instrument for measuring the luminous intensity of a source by comparing it (visually or photoelectrically) with a standard source
    a measuring instrument for measuring high pressures
    medieval weapon consisting of a spearhead attached to a long pole or pikestaff; superseded by the bayonet
    a wooden instrument of punishment on a post with holes for the wrists and neck; offenders were locked in and so exposed to public scorn
    pipet, pipette
    measuring instrument consisting of a graduated glass tube used to measure or transfer precise volumes of a liquid by drawing the liquid up into the tube
    Pitot head, Pitot tube, Pitot-static tube
    measuring instrument consisting of a combined Pitot tube and static tube that measures total and static pressure; used in aircraft to measure airspeed
    Pitot, Pitot tube
    measuring instrument consisting of a right-angled tube with an open end that is directed in opposition to the flow of a fluid and used to measure the velocity of fluid flow
    plane table
    surveying instrument consisting of a drawing board and a ruler that are mounted on a tripod; used to sight and map topographical details
    a measuring instrument for measuring changes in volume of a part or organ or whole body (usually resulting from fluctuations in the amount of blood it contains)
    a medical instrument that records several physiological processes simultaneously (e.g., pulse rate and blood pressure and respiration and perspiration)
    a measuring instrument for measuring direct current electromotive forces
    missile, projectile
    a weapon that is forcibly thrown or projected at a target but is not self-propelled
    an optical instrument that projects an enlarged image onto a screen
    drafting instrument used to draw or measure angles
    a measuring instrument for measuring altitude of heavenly bodies
    whip with a leather thong at the end
    microwave radar, radar, radio detection and ranging, radiolocation
    measuring instrument in which the echo of a pulse of microwave radiation is used to detect and locate distant objects
    range finder, rangefinder
    a measuring instrument (acoustic or optical or electronic) for finding the distance of an object
    flagpole, range pole, ranging pole
    surveying instrument consisting of a straight rod painted in bands of alternate red and white each one foot wide; used for sightings by surveyors
    measuring instrument for measuring the refractive index of a substance
    an instrument for measuring the flow of liquids (especially arterial blood)
    medical instrument consisting of a mirror mounted at an angle on a rod; used to examine the nasal passages (through the nasopharynx)
    hunting crop, riding crop
    a short whip with a thong at the end and a handle for opening gates
    scale, weighing machine
    a measuring instrument for weighing; shows amount of mass
    a measuring instrument that measures the hardness of materials by penetrating them with a stylus that has a diamond point
    flagellum, scourge
    a whip used to inflict punishment (often used for pedantic humor)
    searing iron
    a hot iron used to destroy tissue
    measuring instrument consisting of two graduated arms hinged at one end
    seismograph, seismometer
    a measuring instrument for detecting and measuring the intensity and direction and duration of movements of the ground (as an earthquake)
    a measuring instrument for measuring the light sensitivity of film over a range of exposures
    a measuring instrument for measuring the angular distance between celestial objects; resembles an octant
    an optical instrument for aiding the eye in aiming, as on a firearm or surveying instrument
    a weapon (a sword or dagger) used for slashing
    a simple weapon consisting of a looped strap in which a projectile is whirled and then released
    asdic, echo sounder, sonar
    a measuring instrument that sends out an acoustic pulse in water and measures distances in terms of the time for the echo of the pulse to return
    lance, shaft, spear
    a long pointed rod used as a tool or weapon
    eyeglasses, glasses, specs, spectacles
    optical instrument consisting of a frame that holds a pair of lenses for correcting defective vision
    prism spectroscope, spectroscope
    an optical instrument for spectrographic analysis
    a medical instrument for dilating a bodily passage or cavity in order to examine the interior
    a measuring instrument for measuring the curvature of a surface
    a measuring instrument for recording the depth and rapidity of breathing movements
    a measuring instrument for measuring the vital capacity of the lungs
    instrument of execution consisting of a vertical post that a victim is tied to for burning
    static tube
    a measuring instrument used to measure static pressure in a stream of fluid
    a medical instrument for listening to the sounds generated inside the body
    a former instrument of punishment consisting of a heavy timber frame with holes in which the feet (and sometimes the hands) of an offender could be locked
    whip consisting of a strip of leather used in flogging
    strobe, strobe light, stroboscope
    scientific instrument that provides a flashing light synchronized with the periodic movement of an object; can make moving object appear stationary
    stun baton, stun gun
    a weapon designed to disable a victim temporarily by delivering a nonlethal high-voltage electric shock
    surgical instrument
    a medical instrument used in surgery
    surveyor's level
    surveying instrument consisting basically of a small telescope with an attached spirit level rotating around a vertical axis; for measuring relative heights of land
    a flexible implement used as an instrument of punishment
    blade, brand, steel, sword
    a cutting or thrusting weapon that has a long metal blade and a hilt with a hand guard
    synchroniser, synchronizer, synchronoscope, synchroscope
    an instrument that indicates whether two periodic motions are synchronous (especially an instrument that enables a pilot to synchronize the propellers of a plane that has two or more engines)
    a medical instrument used to inject or withdraw fluids
    t-scope, tachistoscope
    scientific instrument used by psychologists; presents visual stimuli for brief exposures
    tach, tachometer
    measuring instrument for indicating speed of rotation
    tape, tape measure, tapeline
    measuring instrument consisting of a narrow strip (cloth or metal) marked in inches or centimeters and used for measuring lengths
    any scientific instrument for observing events at a distance and transmitting the information back to the observer
    a measuring instrument for measuring the surface tension of a liquid
    a measuring instrument for measuring the tension in a wire or fiber or beam
    a measuring instrument for measuring the moisture content of soil
    theodolite, transit
    a surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles, consisting of a small telescope mounted on a tripod
    medical instrument that uses an infrared camera to reveal temperature variations on the surface of the body
    measuring instrument for measuring temperature
    horologe, timekeeper, timepiece
    a measuring instrument or device for keeping time
    hatchet, tomahawk
    weapon consisting of a fighting ax; used by North American Indians
    measuring instrument for measuring tension or pressure (especially for measuring intraocular pressure in testing for glaucoma)
    torsion balance
    measuring instrument designed to measure small forces by the torsion they exert on a thin wire
    any of various triangular drafting instruments used to draw straight lines at specified angles
    a square used by draftsmen to draw parallel lines
    a measuring instrument for measuring variations in a magnetic field
    Venturi tube
    a short tube inserted into a pipeline and used to measure the quantity of a liquid that is flowing in the pipeline
    viscometer, viscosimeter
    a measuring instrument for measuring viscosity
    an instrument for measuring in watts the flow of power in an electrical circuit
    W.M.D., WMD, weapon of mass destruction
    a weapon that kills or injures civilian as well as military personnel (nuclear and chemical and biological weapons)
    Greek fire
    a mixture used by Byzantine Greeks that was often shot at adversaries; catches fire when wetted
    type of:
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  4. noun
    any of various devices or contrivances that can be used to produce musical tones or sounds
    synonyms: musical instrument
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    barrel organ, grind organ, hand organ, hurdy gurdy, hurdy-gurdy, street organ
    a musical instrument that makes music by rotation of a cylinder studded with pegs
    the member with the lowest range of a family of musical instruments
    calliope, steam organ
    a musical instrument consisting of a series of steam whistles played from a keyboard
    electronic instrument, electronic musical instrument
    a musical instrument that generates sounds electronically
    jew's harp, jews' harp, mouth bow
    a small lyre-shaped musical instrument that is placed between the teeth and played by twanging a wire tongue while changing the shape of the mouth cavity
    keyboard instrument
    a musical instrument that is played by means of a keyboard
    music box, musical box
    produces music by means of pins on a revolving cylinder that strike the tuned teeth of a comb-like metal plate
    percussion instrument, percussive instrument
    a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by one object striking another
    stringed instrument
    a musical instrument in which taut strings provide the source of sound
    wind, wind instrument
    a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by an enclosed column of air that is moved by the breath
    the group of instruments that are played by striking with a hand or object
    accordion, piano accordion, squeeze box
    a portable box-shaped free-reed instrument; the reeds are made to vibrate by air from the bellows controlled by the player
    a stringed instrument of the guitar family that has long neck and circular body
    bass fiddle, bass viol, bull fiddle, contrabass, double bass, string bass
    largest and lowest member of the violin family
    bass guitar
    the guitar with six strings that has the lowest pitch
    bass horn, sousaphone, tuba
    the lowest brass wind instrument
    bombard, bombardon
    a large shawm; the bass member of the shawm family
    bones, castanets, clappers, finger cymbals
    a percussion instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood or bone (usually held between the thumb and fingers) that are made to click together (as by Spanish dancers) in rhythm with the dance
    bowed stringed instrument, string
    stringed instruments that are played with a bow
    brass, brass instrument
    a wind instrument that consists of a brass tube (usually of variable length) that is blown by means of a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped mouthpiece
    a musical instrument consisting of graduated steel plates that are struck by hammers activated by a keyboard
    bell, chime, gong
    a percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned bells that are struck with a hammer; used as an orchestral instrument
    a stringed instrument of the group including harps, lutes, lyres, and zithers
    an early stringed instrument like a piano but with more delicate sound
    Klavier, clavier
    a stringed instrument that has a keyboard
    a percussion instrument consisting of a concave brass disk; makes a loud crashing sound when hit with a drumstick or when two are struck together
    drum, membranophone, tympan
    a musical percussion instrument; usually consists of a hollow cylinder with a membrane stretched across each end
    a stringed instrument used in American folk music; an elliptical body and a fretted fingerboard and three strings
    Hammond organ, electric organ, electronic organ, organ
    (music) an electronic simulation of a pipe organ
    free-reed instrument
    a wind instrument with a free reed
    glockenspiel, orchestral bells
    a percussion instrument consisting of a set of graduated metal bars mounted on a frame and played with small hammers
    gong, tam-tam
    a percussion instrument consisting of a metal plate that is struck with a softheaded drumstick
    a stringed instrument usually having six strings; played by strumming or plucking
    a toy wind instrument that has a membrane that makes a sound when you hum into the mouthpiece
    kettle, kettledrum, timpani, tympani, tympanum
    a large hemispherical brass or copper percussion instrument with a drumhead that can be tuned by adjusting the tension on it
    Japanese stringed instrument that resembles a zither; has a rectangular wooden sounding board and usually 13 silk strings that are plucked with the fingers
    an Australian percussion instrument used for playing bush music; a long stick with bottle caps nailed loosely to it; played by hitting it with a stick or banging it on the ground
    a percussion instrument consisting of a hollow gourd containing pebbles or beans; often played in pairs
    marimba, xylophone
    a percussion instrument with wooden bars tuned to produce a chromatic scale and with resonators; played with small mallets
    ocarina, sweet potato
    egg-shaped terra cotta wind instrument with a mouthpiece and finger holes
    organ, pipe organ
    wind instrument whose sound is produced by means of pipes arranged in sets supplied with air from a bellows and controlled from a large complex musical keyboard
    organ pipe, pipe, pipework
    the flues and stops on a pipe organ
    forte-piano, piano, pianoforte
    a keyboard instrument that is played by depressing keys that cause hammers to strike tuned strings and produce sounds
    a tubular wind instrument
    post horn
    wind instrument used by postilions of the 18th and 19th centuries
    an ancient stringed instrument similar to the lyre or zither but having a trapezoidal sounding board under the strings
    rain stick
    a percussion instrument that is made from a dried cactus branch that is hollowed out and filled with small pebbles and capped at both ends; makes the sound of falling rain when tilted; origin was in Chile where tribesmen used it in ceremonies to bring rain
    samisen, shamisen
    a Japanese stringed instrument resembling a banjo with a long neck and three strings and a fretted fingerboard and a rectangular soundbox; played with a plectrum
    a stringed instrument of India; has a long neck and movable frets; has 6 or 7 metal strings for playing and usually 13 resonating strings
    steel drum
    a concave percussion instrument made from the metal top of an oil drum; has an array of flattened areas that produce different tones when struck (of Caribbean origin)
    synthesiser, synthesizer
    (music) an electronic instrument (usually played with a keyboard) that generates and modifies sounds electronically and can imitate a variety of other musical instruments
    an electronic musical instrument; melodies can be played by moving the right hand between two rods that serve as antennas to control pitch; the left hand controls phrasing
    a percussion instrument consisting of a metal bar bent in the shape of an open triangle
    vibes, vibraharp, vibraphone
    a percussion instrument similar to a xylophone but having metal bars and rotating disks in the resonators that produce a vibrato sound
    a small wind instrument that produces a whistling sound by blowing into it
    wood, woodwind, woodwind instrument
    any wind instrument other than the brass instruments
    cither, zither, zithern
    a musical stringed instrument with strings stretched over a flat sounding board; it is laid flat and played with a plectrum and with fingers
    type of:
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  5. noun
    the semantic role of the entity (usually inanimate) that the agent uses to perform an action or start a process
    synonyms: instrumental role
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    type of:
    participant role, semantic role
    (linguistics) the underlying relation that a constituent has with the main verb in a clause
  6. verb
    equip with instruments for measuring, recording, or controlling
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    type of:
    equip, fit, fit out, outfit
    provide with (something) usually for a specific purpose
  7. verb
    write an instrumental score for
    synonyms: instrumentate
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    type of:
    compose, write
    write music
  8. noun
    (law) a document that states some contractual relationship or grants some right
    synonyms: legal document, legal instrument, official document
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    articles of incorporation
    a legal document that creates a corporation; it is filed with a state by the founders of a corporation and is governed by the laws of the state
    derivative, derivative instrument
    a financial instrument whose value is based on another security
    negotiable instrument
    an unconditional order or promise to pay an amount of money
    a document issued by a country to a citizen allowing that person to travel abroad and re-enter the home country
    ship's papers
    official papers which a ship is legally required to have; related to ownership, cargo, etc.
    a customs document listing the contents put on a ship or plane
    a certificate or voucher acknowledging a debt
    power of attorney
    a legal instrument authorizing someone to act as the grantor's agent
    letters of administration
    legal document naming someone to administer an estate when no executor has been named
    letters testamentary
    a legal document from a probate court or court officer informing you of your appointment as executor of a will and empowering you to discharge those responsibilities
    work papers, work permit, working papers
    a legal document giving information required for employment of certain people in certain countries
    act, enactment
    a legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body
    legal document setting forth rules governing a particular kind of activity
    bill, measure
    a statute in draft before it becomes law
    brief, legal brief
    a document stating the facts and points of law of a client's case
    testament, will
    a legal document declaring a person's wishes regarding the disposal of their property when they die
    living will
    a document written by someone still legally capable requesting that he should be allowed to die if subsequently severely disabled or suffering terminal illness
    deed, deed of conveyance, title
    a legal document signed and sealed and delivered to effect a transfer of property and to show the legal right to possess it
    the instrument by which a claim or right or interest or property is transferred from one person to another
    deed of trust, trust deed
    a written instrument legally conveying property to a trustee often used to secure an obligation such as a mortgage or promissory note
    document effecting a property transfer
    income tax return, return, tax return
    document giving the tax collector information about the taxpayer's tax liability
    licence, license, permit
    a legal document giving official permission to do something
    letters patent, patent
    an official document granting a right or privilege
    judgement, judgment, legal opinion, opinion
    the legal document stating the reasons for a judicial decision
    acquittance, release
    a legal document evidencing the discharge of a debt or obligation
    judicial writ, writ
    (law) a legal document issued by a court or judicial officer
    authorisation, authorization, mandate
    a document giving an official instruction or command
    written declaration made under oath; a written statement sworn to be true before someone legally authorized to administer an oath
    written agreement
    a legal document summarizing the agreement between parties
    bill of indictment, indictment
    a formal document written for a prosecuting attorney charging a person with some offense
    a formal document charging a public official with misconduct in office
    a legal document calling someone to court to answer an indictment
    certificate, security
    a formal declaration that documents a fact of relevance to finance and investment; the holder has a right to receive interest or dividends
    Old Testament
    the collection of books comprising the sacred scripture of the Hebrews and recording their history as the chosen people; the first half of the Christian Bible
    New Testament
    the collection of books of the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, the Pauline and other epistles, and Revelation; composed soon after Christ's death; the second half of the Christian Bible
    futures contract
    an agreement to buy or sell a specific amount of a commodity or financial instrument at a particular price on a stipulated future date; the contract can be sold before the settlement date
    a binding agreement between two or more persons that is enforceable by law
    stock power
    a power of attorney document to transfer ownership of a registered security from the owner to another party
    a power of attorney document given by shareholders of a corporation authorizing a specific vote on their behalf at a corporate meeting
    something that is null (especially an enactment that has no legal validity)
    anti-drug law
    a law forbidding the sale or use of narcotic drugs
    RICO, RICO Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, anti-racketeering law
    law intended to eradicate organized crime by establishing strong sanctions and forfeiture provisions
    antitrust law, antitrust legislation
    law intended to promote free competition in the market place by outlawing monopolies
    statute of limitations
    a statute prescribing the time period during which legal action can be taken
    constitution, fundamental law, organic law
    law determining the fundamental political principles of a government
    public law
    a law affecting the public at large
    appropriation bill
    a legislative act proposing to authorize the expenditure of public funds for a specified purpose
    bill of attainder
    a legislative act finding a person guilty of treason or felony without a trial
    bottle bill
    a statute that would require merchants to reclaim used bottles
    farm bill
    a statute that would regulate farm production and prices
    trade bill
    a statute that would regulate foreign trade
    blue law
    a statute regulating work on Sundays
    blue sky law
    a state law regulating the sale of securities in an attempt to control the sale of securities in fraudulent enterprises
    gag law
    any law that limits freedom of the press
    homestead law
    a law conferring privileges on owners of homesteads
    poor law
    a law providing support for the poor
    Riot Act
    a former English law requiring mobs to disperse after a magistrate reads the law to them
    court order
    a writ issued by a court of law requiring a person to do something or to refrain from doing something
    decree, edict, fiat, order, rescript
    a legally binding command or decision entered on the court record (as if issued by a court or judge)
    a law forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages
    amicus curiae brief
    a brief presented by someone interested in influencing the outcome of a lawsuit but who is not a party to it
    bill of sale
    a deed transferring personal property
    deed poll
    a deed made and executed by only one party
    under the feudal system, the deed by which a person was given land in exchange for a pledge of service
    mortgage deed
    deed embodying a mortgage
    title deed
    a legal document proving a person's right to property
    quitclaim, quitclaim deed
    document transferring title or right or claim to another
    a writ from a court commanding police to perform specified acts
    amended return
    a tax return that corrects the information in an earlier return
    declaration of estimated tax, estimated tax return
    return required of a taxpayer whose tax withheld from income does not meet the tax liability for the year
    false return
    an incorrect income tax return
    information return
    a return that provides information to the tax collector but does not compute the tax liability
    joint return
    a return filed by a husband and wife
    building permit
    a document authorizing the holder to construct a building of a particular kind on a particular lot
    driver's licence, driver's license, driving licence, driving license
    a license authorizing the bearer to drive a motor vehicle
    fishing licence, fishing license, fishing permit
    a license authorizing the bearer to fish during a specified period of time
    game license, hunting licence, hunting license, hunting permit
    a license authorizing the bearer to kill a certain type of animal during a specified period of time
    learner's permit
    a document authorizing the bearer to learn to drive an automobile
    letter of mark and reprisal, letter of marque, letters of marque
    a license to a private citizen to seize property of another nation
    liquor licence, liquor license
    a license authorizing the holder to sell alcoholic beverages
    marriage licence, marriage license, wedding licence, wedding license
    a license authorizing two people to marry
    occupation licence, occupation license
    a license to pursue a particular occupation
    concurring opinion
    an opinion that agrees with the court's disposition of the case but is written to express a particular judge's reasoning
    dissenting opinion
    an opinion that disagrees with the court's disposition of the case
    majority opinion
    the opinion joined by a majority of the court (generally known simply as `the opinion')
    an ancient writ issued by a court of assize to the sheriff for the recovery of property
    certiorari, writ of certiorari
    a common law writ issued by a superior court to one of inferior jurisdiction demanding the record of a particular case
    habeas corpus, writ of habeas corpus
    a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge
    venire facias
    a judicial writ ordering a sheriff to summon people for jury duty
    mandamus, writ of mandamus
    an extraordinary writ commanding an official to perform a ministerial act that the law recognizes as an absolute duty and not a matter for the official's discretion; used only when all other judicial remedies fail
    a writ authorizing the seizure of property that may be needed for the payment of a judgment in a judicial proceeding
    fieri facias
    a writ ordering a levy on the belongings of a debtor to satisfy the debt
    scire facias
    a judicial writ based on some record and requiring the party against whom it is brought to show cause why the record should not be enforced or annulled
    a writ that authorizes the seizure of property
    writ of detinue
    a writ ordering the release of goods that have been unlawfully detained
    writ of election
    a writ ordering the holding of an election
    writ of error
    a judicial writ from an appellate court ordering the court of record to produce the records of trial
    writ of prohibition
    a judicial writ from a higher court ordering a lower court not to exercise jurisdiction in a particular case
    writ of right
    a writ ordering that land be restored to its rightful owner
    process, summons
    a writ issued by authority of law; usually compels the defendant's attendance in a civil suit; failure to appear results in a default judgment against the defendant
    subpoena, subpoena ad testificandum
    a writ issued by court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding; disobedience may be punishable as a contempt of court
    subpoena duces tecum
    a writ issued by a court at the request of one of the parties to a suit; it requires a witness to bring to court or to a deposition any relevant documents under the witness's control
    legislative act, statute
    an act passed by a legislative body
    liberty chit, pass
    a permit to enter or leave a military installation
    (law) an affidavit attached to a statement confirming the truth of that statement
    (Islam) a legal opinion or ruling issued by an Islamic scholar
    dictum, obiter dictum
    an opinion voiced by a judge on a point of law not directly bearing on the case in question and therefore not binding
    a legal document summarizing an agreement between parties in a dispute to abide by the decision of an arbiter
    compact, concordat, covenant
    a signed written agreement between two or more parties (nations) to perform some action
    formal agreement between the issuer of bonds and the bondholders as to terms of the debt
    a legal agreement specifying a payment or action and the penalty for failure to comply
    accord, pact, treaty
    a written agreement between two states or sovereigns
    murder charge, murder indictment
    an indictment charging someone with murder
    true bill
    an indictment endorsed by a grand jury
    the right to buy or sell property at an agreed price; the right is purchased and if it is not exercised by a stated date the money is forfeited
    agency security, government security
    a security issued by United States government agencies or the Farm Credit System
    mortgage-backed security
    a security created when a group of mortgages are gathered together and bonds are sold to other institutions or the public; investors receive a portion of the interest payments on the mortgages as well as the principal payments; usually guaranteed by the government
    registered security
    a security whose owner's name is recorded on the books of the issuer (or issuer's agent)
    bill of exchange, draft, order of payment
    a document ordering the payment of money; drawn by one person or bank on another
    a written agreement (or property or money) delivered to a third party or put in trust by one party to a contract to be returned after fulfillment of some condition
    a will disposing of real property
    a certificate whose value is recognized by the payer and payee; scrip is not currency but may be convertible into currency
    stock, stock certificate
    a certificate documenting the shareholder's ownership in the corporation
    tax-exempt, tax-exempt security
    a security that is not subject to taxation
    bond, bond certificate
    a certificate of debt (usually interest-bearing or discounted) that is issued by a government or corporation in order to raise money; the issuer is required to pay a fixed sum annually until maturity and then a fixed sum to repay the principal
    zero coupon security, zero-coupon security
    a security that makes no interest payments but instead is sold at a deep discount from its face value
    partnership certificate
    a certificate showing the interests of all parties in a business partnership
    proprietorship certificate
    a certificate showing who is responsible in an individually owned business
    convertible, convertible security
    a corporate security (usually bonds or preferred stock) that can be exchanged for another form of security (usually common stock)
    letter security
    a stock or bond that is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and cannot be sold in the public market
    listed security
    a security that has been accepted for trading by one of the organized and registered securities exchanges in the US
    OTC security, over the counter security, unlisted security
    a security traded in the over-the-counter market
    type of:
    document, papers, written document
    writing that provides information (especially information of an official nature)
  9. verb
    address a legal document to
    see moresee less
    type of:
    address, direct
    put an address on (an envelope)
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘instrument'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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