- a mender of pots, kettles, pans, etc., usually an itinerant.
- an unskillful or clumsy worker; bungler.
- a person skilled in various minor kinds of mechanical work; jack-of-all-trades.
- an act or instance of tinkering: Let me have a tinker at that motor.
- Scot., Irish English.
- a gypsy.
- any itinerant worker.
- a wanderer.
- a beggar.
- chub mackerel.
- to busy oneself with a thing without useful results: Stop tinkering with that clock and take it to the repair shop.
- to work unskillfully or clumsily at anything.
- to do the work of a tinker.
- to mend as a tinker.
- to repair in an unskillful, clumsy, or makeshift way.
Origin of tinker
Related Words for tinkeredmess, dabble, repair, play, toy, monkey, doodle, putter, niggle, puddle, fix
Examples from the Web for tinkered
Contemporary Examples of tinkered
“Crazy Henry,” the neighbors dubbed him when he tinkered in his garage.Henry Ford Understood That Raising Wages Would Bring Him More Profit
January 6, 2014
He is 100 percent opposed to derailing the American Dream by allowing sequestration to be tinkered with.The Cruzification of Marco Rubio
December 13, 2013
Doe had no formal engineering training, but he tinkered endlessly.Why the Clintons Love Sierra Leone’s Boy Genius
September 26, 2013
The Coca-Cola Company should have headed those wise words before it went and tinkered with its beloved product.The 21 Worst Food Ideas Ever
September 7, 2013
To the paper's credit, it has now at least tinkered with the obituary online.New York Times Changes Sexist Obit
March 31, 2013
Historical Examples of tinkered
When anything about the building caved in, as it frequently did, he tinkered it himself.Freaks of Fortune
For a while it wouldn't work for a cent, although they tinkered with it night and day.Walter and the Wireless
Sara Ware Bassett
Alas for the gods or the mediators who require to be tinkered!Our Little Lady
Emily Sarah Holt
Well, we tinkered, and the Portuguese dock-yard people tinkered.If, Yes and Perhaps
Edward Everett Hale
Then he climbed back into the fuselage and tinkered at the engine.Tam O' The Scoots
- (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
- (intr foll by with) to play, fiddle, or meddle (with machinery, etc), esp while undertaking repairs
- to mend (pots and pans) as a tinker
Word Origin for tinker
"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.
In addition to the idiom beginning with tinker
- tinker with
- not worth a damn (tinker's damn)