a mechanical tool or implement, especially one used for delicate or precision work: surgical instruments.
a contrivance or apparatus for producing musical sounds: a stringed instrument.
a means by which something is effected or done; agency: an instrument of government.
a device for measuring the present value of a quantity under observation.
a mechanical or electronic measuring device, especially one used in navigation: landing a plane by instruments.
a formal legal document, as a draft or bond: negotiable instruments.
a person used by another merely as a means to some private end; tool or dupe.
verb (used with object)
to equip with instruments, as a machine or manufacturing process: to instrument a space vehicle.
to arrange a composition for musical instruments; orchestrate.

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin instrūmentum equip-ment, equivalent to instrū-, stem of instruere to equip (see instruct) + -mentum -ment; see instruct

underinstrument, noun

1. See tool. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
1.  a mechanical implement or tool, esp one used for precision work: surgical instrument
2.  music any of various contrivances or mechanisms that can be played to produce musical tones or sounds
3.  an important factor or agency in something: her evidence was an instrument in his arrest
4.  informal a person used by another to gain an end; dupe; tool
5.  a measuring device, such as a pressure gauge or ammeter
6.  a.  a device or system for use in navigation or control, esp of aircraft
 b.  (as modifier): instrument landing
7.  a formal legal document
8.  another word for orchestrate
9.  to equip with instruments
[C13: from Latin instrūmentum tool, equipment, from instruere to erect, furnish; see instruct]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., "musical instrument," from O.Fr. instrument, from L. instrumentem "a tool, apparatus, furniture, dress, document," from instruere "arrange, furnish" (see instruct). Broader sense of "that which is used as an agent in an performance" is from mid-14c. Instrumental
"musical composition for instruments without vocals" is from 1940.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

instrument in·stru·ment (ĭn'strə-mənt)
A tool or implement, as for surgery.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Even the two organs in the choir loft are decorated, with angels playing
Cook boxed up his expedition records, except for his diary, and his instruments.
It is marvellous how quickly an experienced hand can clear the ground in a
  forest with one of these instruments.
When used as instruments of beauty, they may add to the rhythmic structure of a
  poem the element of melody.
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