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instrumental

[in-struh-men-tl] /ˌɪn strəˈmɛn tl/
adjective
1.
serving or acting as an instrument or means; useful; helpful.
2.
performed on or written for a musical instrument or instruments:
instrumental music.
3.
of or pertaining to an instrument or tool.
4.
Grammar.
  1. (in certain inflected languages, as Old English and Russian) noting or pertaining to a case having as its distinctive function the indication of means or agency, as Old English beseah blīthe andweitan “looked with a happy countenance.”.
  2. noting the affix or other element characteristic of this case, or a word containing such an element.
  3. similar to such a case form in function or meaning, as the Latin instrumental ablative, gladiō, “by means of a sword.”.
  4. (in case grammar) pertaining to the semantic role of a noun phrase that indicates the inanimate, nonvolitional, immediate cause of the action expressed by a verb, as the rock in The rock broke the window or in I broke the window with the rock.
noun
5.
Grammar.
  1. the instrumental case.
  2. a word in the instrumental case.
  3. a construction of similar meaning.
6.
a musical composition played by an instrument or a group of instruments.
Compare vocal (def 8).
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin instrūmentālis. See instrument, -al1
Related forms
instrumentally, adverb
noninstrumental, adjective
noninstrumentally, adverb
uninstrumental, adjective
uninstrumentally, adverb
Synonyms
1. implemental, effectual, effective.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for instrumentals

instrumental

/ˌɪnstrəˈmɛntəl/
adjective
1.
serving as a means or influence; helpful
2.
of, relating to, or characterized by an instrument or instruments
3.
played by or composed for musical instruments
4.
(grammar) denoting a case of nouns, etc, in certain inflected languages, indicating the instrument used in performing an action, usually translated into English using the prepositions with or by means of
noun
5.
a piece of music composed for instruments rather than for voices
6.
(grammar)
  1. the instrumental case
  2. a word or speech element in the instrumental case
Derived Forms
instrumentality, noun
instrumentally, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for instrumentals

instrumental

adj.

late 14c., "of the nature of an instrument," from Old French instrumental, from Medieval Latin instrumentalis, from Latin instrumentum (see instrument). Meaning "serviceable, useful" is from c.1600. Of music, c.1500; noun meaning "musical composition for instruments only" is attested by 1940. Related: Instrumentally; instrumentality.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for instrumentals

type of popular music performed without a vocalist, in any of several genres but especially prevalent in rock and roll in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Serving primarily as dance music, rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues instrumentals began appearing on the pop charts in the mid-1950s, with Bill Doggett's organ- and saxophone-driven "Honky Tonk" (1956) leading the way. Thereafter instrumental records regularly reached number one. Link Wray's "Rumble" and the Champs' "Tequila" hit it big in 1958, the year Duane Eddy began a string of hits featuring his trademark twang guitar sound. In Britain the Shadows had their own run of hits beginning in 1960, though they failed to export their success to the United States (unlike the Tornadoes, who topped the American charts in 1962 with "Telstar").

Learn more about instrumentals with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Word Value for instrumentals

15
20
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