tinker

[ting-ker]

noun

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to mend as a tinker.
to repair in an unskillful, clumsy, or makeshift way.

Origin of tinker

1225–75; Middle English tinkere (noun), syncopated variant of tinekere worker in tin
Related formstin·ker·er, nounun·tin·kered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for tinker

mess, dabble, repair, play, toy, monkey, doodle, putter, niggle, puddle, fix

Examples from the Web for tinker

Contemporary Examples of tinker

Historical Examples of tinker


British Dictionary definitions for tinker

tinker

noun

(esp formerly) a travelling mender of pots and pans
a clumsy worker
the act of tinkering
Scot and Irish another name for Gypsy
British informal a mischievous child
any of several small mackerels that occur off the North American coast of the Atlantic

verb

(intr foll by with) to play, fiddle, or meddle (with machinery, etc), esp while undertaking repairs
to mend (pots and pans) as a tinker
Derived Formstinkerer, noun

Word Origin for tinker

C13 tinkere, perhaps from tink tinkle, of imitative origin
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

Word Origin and History for tinker
n.

"mender of kettles, pots, pans, etc.," mid-13c. (as a surname), of uncertain origin. Some connect the word with the sound made by light hammering on metal. The verb meaning "to keep busy in a useless way" is first found 1650s. Tinker's damn "something slight and worthless" is from 1824, probably simply preserving tinkers' reputation for free and casual use of profanity; more elaborate derivations exist, but seem to be just-so stories without evidence.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with tinker

tinker

In addition to the idiom beginning with tinker

  • tinker with

also see:

  • not worth a damn (tinker's damn)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.