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[tam-per] /ˈtæm pər/
verb (used without object)
to meddle, especially for the purpose of altering, damaging, or misusing (usually followed by with):
Someone has been tampering with the lock.
to make changes in something, especially in order to falsify (usually followed by with):
to tamper with official records.
to engage secretly or improperly in something.
to engage in underhand or corrupt dealings, especially in order to influence improperly (usually followed by with):
Any lawyer who tries to tamper with a jury should be disbarred.
Origin of tamper1
1560-70; probably variant of temper (v.)
Related forms
tamperer, noun
untampered, adjective
1. interfere.


[tam-per] /ˈtæm pər/
a person or thing that tamps.
tamp + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for tamper
Historical Examples
  • How she valued her own life had been proved; but his—she had no right to tamper with it.

  • I will not allow any stranger to tamper with our Silver Spider!

    The Golden Face William Le Queux
  • Make sure that nobody can tamper with your pistol or cartridges.

  • Her desk was locked, and it would not be safe to tamper with it.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • I asked, now thoroughly uneasy; had her recklessness gone so far as to lead her to tamper with the Commandments?

    In the Mountains Elizabeth von Arnim
  • Recollect how far you are from home, and do not tamper with yourself.

    Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee (His Son) Captain Robert E. Lee
  • But tamper with the property of my successor I cannot and will not.

    Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
  • Yes, Masticator was going too far—and how had he managed to tamper with my index?

  • "I would rather not tamper with punctuation and spelling," said Hester, dryly.

    Red Pottage Mary Cholmondeley
  • "Nothing shall make me tamper with justice;—nothing," said he.

    Orley Farm Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for tamper


verb (intransitive)
(usually foll by with) to interfere or meddle
to use corrupt practices such as bribery or blackmail
(usually foll by with) to attempt to influence or corrupt, esp by bribery: to tamper with the jury
Derived Forms
tamperer, noun
Word Origin
C16: alteration of temper (verb)


a person or thing that tamps, esp an instrument for packing down tobacco in a pipe
a casing around the core of a nuclear weapon to increase its efficiency by reflecting neutrons and delaying the expansion
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 tamper

1560s, figurative use of tamper "to work in clay, etc., so as to mix it thoroughly," probably originally a variant of temper (v.), which is how it was initially spelled. Perhaps it is a dialectal workmen's pronunciation. Related: Tampered; tampering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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