- 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 tinkererdilettante, beginner, novice, abecedarian, loafer, pretender, tyro, trifler, tinkerer, nonprofessional, smatterer
Examples from the Web for tinkerer
Contemporary Examples of tinkerer
The fundamental difference between the two is that Keynes is something of a tinkerer.War of the Economists
October 29, 2011
Historical Examples of tinkerer
He was something of a tinkerer, and he enjoyed adapting his environment to himself.Beside Still Waters
It was standard for the tinkerer, for the would-be designer of robot bodies.Tangle Hold
F. L. Wallace
He was a natural mechanic, a maker and tinkerer of machines; he lisped in blueprints for the blueprints came.Babbitt
- (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)