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See also: Tinker



From Middle English tinkere, perhaps from Old English *tincere, from tin (tin) + Old English *cere (as in bēocere (beekeeper)), from Proto-Germanic *kazjaz (vessel-maker), from Proto-Germanic *kazą (vessel; vat; tub).



tinker (plural tinkers)

  1. An itinerant tinsmith and mender of household utensils made of metal.
  2. (dated, chiefly Britain and Ireland, offensive) A member of the Irish Traveller 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, or who invents such devices; one who tinkers; a tinkerer.
  5. The act of repair or invention. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  6. (military, obsolete) A hand mortar.
  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.


Derived terms[edit]



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

  1. (intransitive) 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”, in American Scientist[1], 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.
    • 2020 May 20, “Network News: LNER seeks innovation through FutureLabs project”, in Rail, page 14:
      We're not just talking about changes that tinker around the edges - we're looking to take advantage of some of the world's latest digital and tech developments to improve our service.
  2. (intransitive) To work as a tinker.
  3. (transitive) To tinker with; to tweak or attempt to fix.
    • 1894, Thomas Hardy, A Few Crusted Characters
      the broken bureau-lock and tinkered window-pane
    • 2013, Eric Goulard, Body Language Secrets Revealed:
      And because he wants to show that he is a dominant male, he tinkered the engine of his motorbike to make it even noisier.


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