adjective, tin·ni·er, tin·ni·est.

of or like tin.
containing tin.
lacking in timbre or resonance; sounding thin or twangy: a tinny piano.
not strong or durable; flimsy; shoddy.
having the taste of tin.

Origin of tinny

First recorded in 1545–55; tin + -y1
Related formstin·ni·ly, adverbtin·ni·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tinny

Contemporary Examples of tinny

Historical Examples of tinny

  • Against the scene a jazz band flung a whine and a stumble of tinny sounds.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht

  • That's only a tinny sort of glitter just now, but you should see the moon rise over it.

    Mushroom Town

    Oliver Onions

  • The words were in English—the tinny, saw-cut English of the native-bred, and the chaplain jumped.


    Rudyard Kipling

  • A tinny voice said with formal cordiality that he did, indeed.

    Operation Terror

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

  • The tinny voice said hastily that Lockley should speak to the general himself.

    Operation Terror

    William Fitzgerald Jenkins

British Dictionary definitions for tinny


adjective -nier or -niest

of, relating to, or resembling tin
cheap, badly made, or shoddy
(of a sound) high, thin, and metallic
(of food or drink) flavoured with metal, as from a container
Australian informal lucky

noun plural -nies

Australian slang a can of beer
Also: tinnie Australian informal a small fishing or pleasure boat with an aluminium hull
Derived Formstinnily, adverbtinniness, noun
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 tinny

1550s, from tin + -y (2). Used figuratively (of sounds, etc.) since 1877.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper