tinker

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See also: Tinker

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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

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Noun[edit]

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 or of other itinerant groups. 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.

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Verb[edit]

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

  1. (intransitive) To work as a tinker.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To fiddle with something in an attempt to fix, mend or improve it, especially in an experimental or unskilled manner.
    • 1894, Thomas Hardy, A Few Crusted Characters
      the broken bureau-lock and tinkered window-pane
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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