Try to repair, work aimlessly or unskillfully with, as in He tinkered with the engine all day but it still wouldn't start. This idiom, first recorded in 1658, alludes to working as a tinker, that is, mending metal utensils.
Words nearby tinker with
How to use tinker with in a sentence
The Caiman offers a range of option packages, from bristling-with-machine-guns, to monster-truck-field-hospital.
He referred to this risky state of affairs as “the babushka-with-uranium-in-the-chicken-shed” problem.Fired From Los Alamos for Pushing Obama's Nuclear Agenda|Center for Public Integrity|July 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
You could tinker with them so they would boil but then the cops could take it away for being an ‘altered item’.Tales of a Jailhouse Gourmet: How I learned to Cook in Prison|Daniel Genis|June 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He could spell the names of all his classmates, and he loved building with Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys.The Crossword Puzzle Turns 100: The ‘King of Crossword’ on Its Strange History|Kevin Fallon|December 21, 2013|DAILY BEAST
[Laughs] KROLL: The “Tinker Stinker” I like, in that it felt like a true labeling of something that happens.‘The League’ Roundtable: The Cast Dishes on the Funniest Show You’re Not Watching|Marlow Stern|November 19, 2013|DAILY BEAST
For that matter, he said, he didn't care a tinker's dam if we were; he had grub and bedding and we were welcome to both.Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair
Mr. Giles directed an appealing glance at the tinker, but he had suddenly fallen asleep.Oliver Twist, Vol. II (of 3)|Charles Dickens
The little shoe, whose silken laces had become loose in walking, lay in the road covered-with dust.Honey-Bee|Anatole France
This garrison arrived at the moment when the insurgents, confiding on the Governor's promise, were with-drawing.The Border Rifles|Gustave Aimard
So late home to supper and to bed, weary-with walking so long to no purpose in the Park to-day.Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete|Samuel Pepys