[ ting-ker ]
/ ˈtɪŋ kər /


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 forms

tin·ker·er, nounun·tin·kered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tinkerer

  • The fundamental difference between the two is that Keynes is something of a tinkerer.

    War of the Economists|Michael Maiello|October 29, 2011|DAILY BEAST
  • He was a natural mechanic, a maker and tinkerer of machines; he lisped in blueprints for the blueprints came.

    Babbitt|Sinclair Lewis
  • It was standard for the tinkerer, for the would-be designer of robot bodies.

    Tangle Hold|F. L. Wallace
  • He was something of a tinkerer, and he enjoyed adapting his environment to himself.

    Beside Still Waters|Robert Sheckley

British Dictionary definitions for tinkerer


/ (ˈtɪŋkə) /



(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 Forms

tinkerer, 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

Idioms and Phrases with tinkerer


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.