tinker

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English tinkere

Noun[edit]

tinker (plural tinkers)

  1. an itinerant tinsmith and mender of household utensils made of tin
  2. (dated, chiefly UK and Ireland, offensive) A member of the travelling community. A gypsy.
  3. (usually with "little") A mischievous person, especially a playful, impish youngster.
  4. Someone who repairs, or attempts repair on anything mechanical (tinkers) or invents.
  5. The act of repair or invention.
  6. (military, obsolete) A small mortar on the end of a staff.
  7. Any of various fish: the chub mackerel, the silverside, the skate, or a young mackerel about two years old.
  8. A bird, the razor-billed auk.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

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Verb[edit]

tinker (third-person singular simple present tinkers, present participle tinkering, simple past and past participle tinkered)

  1. To fiddle with something in an attempt to fix, mend or improve it, especially in an experimental or unskilled manner.
    • 2012 January 1, Robert M. Pringle, “How to Be Manipulative”, American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 31: 
      As in much of biology, the most satisfying truths in ecology derive from manipulative experimentation. Tinker with nature and quantify how it responds.
  2. To work as a tinker.

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