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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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tampering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But to give it to him would be like tampering with his position of complete dependence.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • The planetary rulers had taken no chances of tampering with their propaganda.

    The Martian Cabal Roman Frederick Starzl
  • That of being spies and tampering with the aeroplane last night!

    Boy Scouts Mysterious Signal

    G. Harvey Ralphson
  • Was it not tampering with rectitude to have overcome them by a too persuasive rhetoric?

    The Nebuly Coat John Meade Falkner
  • Is that where the strange man was tampering with the lock the day of the auction?

British Dictionary definitions for tampering


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 tampering



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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