Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Instrument noun [ French instrument , Latin instrumentum . See Instruct .]


1. That by means of which any work is performed, or result is effected; a tool; a utensil; an implement; as, the instruments of a mechanic; astronomical instruments .

All the lofty instruments of war.
Shak.

2. A contrivance or implement, by which musical sounds are produced; as, a musical instrument .

Praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Ps. cl. 4.

But signs when songs and instruments he hears.
Dryden.

3. (Law) A writing, as the means of giving formal expression to some act; a writing expressive of some act, contract, process, as a deed, contract, writ, etc. Burrill.

4. One who, or that which, is made a means, or is caused to serve a purpose; a medium, means, or agent.

Or useful serving man and instrument ,
To any sovereign state.
Shak.

The bold are but the instruments of the wise.
Dryden.

Syn. -- Tool; implement; utensil; machine; apparatus; channel; agent.

Instrument transitive verb To perform upon an instrument; to prepare for an instrument; as, a sonata instrumented for orchestra.

Instrumental adjective [ Confer French instrumental .]


1. Acting as an instrument; serving as a means; contributing to promote; conductive; helpful; serviceable; as, he was instrumental in conducting the business.

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth.
Shak.

2. (Mus.) Pertaining to, made by, or prepared for, an instrument, esp. a musical instrument; as, instrumental music, distinguished from vocal music. "He defended the use of instrumental music in public worship." Macaulay.

Sweet voices mix'd with instrumental sounds.
Dryden.

3. (Gram.) Applied to a case expressing means or agency; 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.

Instrumental errors , those errors in instrumental measurements, etc., which arise, exclusively from want of mathematical accuracy in an instrument.

Instrumentalism noun (Philos.) The view that the sanction of truth is its utility, or that truth is genuine only in so far as it is a valuable instrument. -- In`stru*men"tal*ist , noun

Instrumentalism views truth as simply the value belonging to certain ideas in so far as these ideas are biological functions of our organisms, and psychological functions whereby we direct our choices and attain our successes.
Josiah Royce.

Instrumentalist noun One who plays upon an instrument of music, as distinguished from a vocalist .

Instrumentality noun ; plural Instrumentalities The quality or condition of being instrumental; that which is instrumental; anything used as a means; medium; agency.

The instrumentality of faith in justification.
Bp. Burnet.

The discovery of gunpowder developed the science of attack and defense in a new instrumentality .
J. H. Newman.

Instrumentally adverb
1. By means of an instrument or agency; as means to an end. South.

They will argue that the end being essentially beneficial, the means become instrumentally so.
Burke.

2. With instruments of music; as, a song instrumentally accompanied. Mason.

Instrumentalness noun Usefulness or agency, as means to an end; instrumentality. [ R.] Hammond.

Instrumentary adjective Instrumental. [ R.]

Instrumentation noun
1. The act of using or adapting as an instrument; a series or combination of instruments; means; agency.

Otherwise we have no sufficient instrumentation for our human use or handling of so great a fact.
H. Bushnell.

2. (Mus.) (a) The arrangement of a musical composition for performance by a number of different instruments; orchestration; instrumental composition; composition for an orchestra or military band. (b) The act or manner of playing upon musical instruments; performance; as, his instrumentation is perfect.

Instrumentist noun A performer on a musical instrument; an instrumentalist.

Instyle transitive verb To style. [ Obsolete] Crashaw.

Insuavity noun [ Latin insuavitas : confer French insuavité . See In- not, and Suavity .] Want of suavity; unpleasantness. [ Obsolete] Burton.

Insubjection noun Want of subjection or obedience; a state of disobedience, as to government.

Insubmergible adjective Not capable of being submerged; buoyant. [ R.]

Insubmission noun Want of submission; disobedience; noncompliance.

Insubordinate adjective Not submitting to authority; disobedient; rebellious; mutinous.

Insubordination noun [ Confer French insubordination .] The quality of being insubordinate; disobedience to lawful authority.

Insubstantial adjective Unsubstantial; not real or strong. " Insubstantial pageant." [ R.] Shak.

Insubstantiality noun Unsubstantiality; unreality. [ R.]

Insuccation noun [ Latin insucare , insucatum , to soak in; prefix in- + succus , sucus , sap.] The act of soaking or moistening; maceration; solution in the juice of herbs. [ Obsolete] Coxe.

The medicating and insuccation of seeds.
Evelyn.

Insuccess noun Want of success. [ R.] Feltham.

Insue intransitive verb See Ensue , intransitive verb

Insuetude noun [ Latin insuetudo , from insuetus unaccustomed; prefix in- not + suetus , past participle of suescere to be accustomed.] The state or quality of being unaccustomed; absence of use or habit.

Absurdities are great or small in proportion to custom or insuetude .
Landor.

Insufferable adjective
1. Incapable of being suffered, borne, or endured; insupportable; unendurable; intolerable; as, insufferable heat, cold, or pain; insufferable wrongs. Locke.

2. Offensive beyond endurance; detestable.

A multitude of scribblers who daily pester the world with their insufferable stuff.
Dryden.

Insufferably adverb In a manner or to a degree beyond endurance; intolerably; as, a blaze insufferably bright; a person insufferably proud.

Insufficience noun Insufficiency. Shak.

Insufficiency noun [ Latin insufficientia : confer French insuffisance , whence Middle English insuffisance . See Insufficient .]


1. The quality or state of being insufficient; want of sufficiency; deficiency; inadequateness; as, the insufficiency of provisions, of an excuse, etc.

The insufficiency of the light of nature is, by the light of Scripture, . . . fully supplied.
Hooker.

2. Want of power or skill; inability; incapacity; incompetency; as, the insufficiency of a man for an office.

Insufficient adjective [ Latin insufficiens , -entis . See In- not, and Sufficient .]


1. Not sufficient; not enough; inadequate to any need, use, or purpose; as, the provisions are insufficient in quantity, and defective in quality. " Insufficient for His praise." Cowper.

2. Wanting in strength, power, ability, capacity, or skill; incompetent; incapable; unfit; as, a person insufficient to discharge the duties of an office.

Syn. -- Inadequate; scanty; incommensurate; unequal; unfit; incompetent; incapable; inefficient.

Insufficiently adverb In an insufficient manner or degree; unadequately.

Insufflate adjective [ See Insufflation .] To blow upon; to breath upon or into; to use insufflation upon.

Insufflation noun [ Latin insuffatio : confer French insuffation . See In- in, and Sufflation .] The act of breathing on or into anything ; especially: (a) (R. C. Ch.) The breathing upon a person in the sacrament of baptism to symbolize the inspiration of a new spiritual life. (b) (Medicine) The act of blowing (a gas, powder, or vapor) into any cavity of the body.

Insuitable adjective Unsuitable. [ Obsolete] -- In*suit`a*bil"i*ty noun [ Obsolete]

Insular adjective [ Latin insularis , from insula island: confer French insulaire . See Isle .]


1. Of or pertaining to an island; of the nature, or possessing the characteristics, of an island; as, an insular climate, fauna, etc.

2. Of or pertaining to the people of an island; narrow; circumscribed; illiberal; contracted; as, insular habits, opinions, or prejudices.

The penury of insular conversation.
Johnson.

Insular noun An islander. [ R.] Berkeley.

Insularity noun [ Confer French insularité .]


1. The state or quality of being an island or consisting of islands; insulation.

The insularity of Britain was first shown by Agricola, who sent his fleet round it.
Pinkerton.

2. Narrowness or illiberality of opinion; prejudice; exclusiveness; as, the insularity of the Chinese or of the aristocracy.

Insularly adverb In an insular manner.

Insulary adjective Insular. [ Obsolete] Howell.

Insulate transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Insulated ; present participle & verbal noun Insulating .] [ Latin insulatus insulated, from insula island. See Isle , and confer Isolate .]


1. To make an island of. [ Obsolete] Pennant.

2. To place in a detached situation, or in a state having no communication with surrounding objects; to isolate; to separate.

3. (Elec. & Thermotics) To prevent the transfer of electricity or heat to or from (bodies) by the interposition of nonconductors.

Insulating stool (Electricity) , a stool with legs of glass or some other nonconductor of electricity, used for insulating a person or any object placed upon it.

Insulated (ĭn"su*lā"tĕd) p. adjective
1. Standing by itself; not being contiguous to other bodies; separated; unconnected; isolated; as, an insulated house or column.

The special and insulated situation of the Jews.
De Quincey.

2. (Elect. & Thermotics) Separated from other bodies by means of nonconductors of heat or electricity.

3. (Astron.) Situated at so great a distance as to be beyond the effect of gravitation; -- said of stars supposed to be so far apart that the affect of their mutual attraction is insensible. C. A. Young.

Insulated wire , wire wound with silk, or covered with other nonconducting material, for electrical use.

Insulation noun
1. The act of insulating, or the state of being insulated; detachment from other objects; isolation.

2. (Elec. & Thermotics) The act of separating a body from others by nonconductors, so as to prevent the transfer of electricity or of heat; also, the state of a body so separated.

Insulation noun The material or substance used in insulating.

Insulator noun
1. One who, or that which, insulates.

2. (Elec. & Thermotics) The substance or body that insulates; a nonconductor.

Insulite noun (Electricity) An insulating material, usually some variety of compressed cellulose, made of sawdust, paper pulp, cotton waste, etc.

Insulous adjective [ Latin insulosus , from insula island.] Abounding in islands. [ R.]

Insulse adjective [ Latin insulsus ; prefix in- not + salsus salted, from salire , salsum , to salt.] Insipid; dull; stupid. [ Obsolete] Milton.

Insulsity noun [ Latin insulsitas .] Insipidity; stupidity; dullness. [ Obsolete]

The insulsity of mortal tongues.
Milton.

Insult noun [ Latin insultus , from insilire to leap upon: confer French insulte . See Insult , transitive verb ]


1. The act of leaping on; onset; attack. [ Obsolete] Dryden.

2. Gross abuse offered to another, either by word or act; an act or speech of insolence or contempt; an affront; an indignity.

The ruthless sneer that insult adds to grief.
Savage.

Syn. -- Affront; indignity; abuse; outrage; contumely. See Affront .

Insult transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Insulted ; present participle & verbal noun Insulting .] [ French insulter , Latin insultare , freq. from insilire to leap into or upon; prefix in- in, on + salire to leap. See Salient .]


1. To leap or trample upon; to make a sudden onset upon. [ Obsolete] Shak.

2. To treat with abuse, insolence, indignity, or contempt, by word or action; to abuse; as, to call a man a coward or a liar, or to sneer at him, is to insult him.

Insult intransitive verb
1. To leap or jump.

Give me thy knife, I will insult on him.
Shak.

Like the frogs in the apologue, insulting upon their wooden king.
Jer. Taylor.

2. To behave with insolence; to exult. [ Archaic]

The lion being dead, even hares insult .
Daniel.

An unwillingness to insult over their helpless fatuity.
Landor.