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[tweek] /twik/
verb (used with object)
to pinch and pull with a jerk and twist:
to tweak someone's ear; to tweak someone's nose.
to pull or pinch the nose of, especially gently:
He tweaked the baby on greeting.
to make a minor adjustment to:
to tweak a computer program.
an act or instance of tweaking; a sharp, twisting pull or jerk.
Origin of tweak
1595-1605; akin to twitch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for tweak


verb (transitive)
to twist, jerk, or pinch with a sharp or sudden movement: to tweak someone's nose
(motor racing, slang) to tune (a car or engine) for peak performance
(informal) to make a minor alteration
an instance of tweaking
(informal) a minor alteration
Derived Forms
tweaky, adjective
Word Origin
Old English twiccian; related to Old High German zwecchōn; see twitch
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 tweak

"pinch, pluck, twist," usually to the nose, probably from Old English twiccian "to pluck," of obscure origin; perhaps related to twitch. Meaning "to make fine adjustments" is attested from 1966. Related: Tweaked; tweaking. The noun in this sense is recorded by 1989.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tweak



  1. To adjust a computer program slightly; refine; fine-tune: Michael's code is elegant stuff, really fun to tweak (1980s+ Computer)
  2. To make minor adjustments; perfect: Is the President going to tweak emissions for seven years and then let them rip?/ He used the core of the President's plan, and from that he did some tweaking (1990s+)

[perhaps a memory of the days when a crystal was tweaked with a ''cat's whisker'' in order to tune a primitive radio receiver]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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tweak in Technology

1. To change slightly, usually in reference to a value. Also used synonymously with twiddle. If a program is almost correct, rather than figure out the precise problem you might just keep tweaking it until it works. See frobnicate and fudge factor; also see shotgun debugging.
2. To tune or bum a program; preferred usage in the UK.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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