Meaning of tinker in English:


Translate tinker into Spanish


  • 1(especially in former times) a person who makes a living by travelling from place to place mending pans and other metal utensils.

    • ‘The tinkers live by mending pots and pans, telling fortunes and selling horses and ponies at the various fairs throughout the country.’
    • ‘For the first time in his life, Yllek felt a sense of awe and wonder regarding his native city, and began to understand the underlying truth behind the stories borne by travelling tinkers and bards through the outlying lands.’
    • ‘The travelling folk, or tinkers, were often treated as second-class citizens, with heartbreaking consequences.’
    • ‘A tantalising childhood image was of nomad tinkers who came trailing families and children, and disappeared as suddenly beyond the horizon.’
    • ‘Jack, an outcast and drifter himself, feels a connection with the tinkers and takes the job which, in turn, takes Taylor to perilous places within and without.’
    • ‘The other real trouble - involving violence and vandalism in addition to the usual epidemic of thefts - came from Irish tinkers, about whom I blogged here, but failed to mention the manner of their departure.’
    • ‘And just across the waters of the Flash at Aspull Common a similar number of tinkers have moved in with their lorries, vans and caravans using their camp as a base for carrying out driveway laying and paving work in the area.’
    • ‘I suddenly realized that here I, like the tinkers of whom Della had been so suspicious, was part of a persecuted minority.’
    • ‘But are the tinkers only using him and to what ends?’
    • ‘Fresh from the day's rehearsals as Hester Swane, the tinker's daughter whom she will play for 14 weeks at Wyndhams Theatre, in the West End, Hunter explains the appeal of treading the boards.’
    • ‘This week, one of his past works, Petra - the story of a soldier, a witch and a tinker helping a young woman to explain to her son why he is now a ghost - is revisited as part of the Glasgow West End Festival.’
    • ‘It was in this location that a tinker's body was once found, giving the place the name of the ‘Murder Hole’.’
    • ‘In the early '50s, Bate's parents, Bev and Viv (or Viv and Bev-no one can say for sure), swapped him to unwary tinkers for a three-legged dog.’
    • ‘A particular type of graphic art involving wire and metalworking was produced by Slovak tinkers from the Upper Vah River Valley or Spis.’
    • ‘She then strikes a bargain with a priest who, although not in the habit of marrying tinkers, says he'll do the job for a small fee and a tin can.’
    • ‘And one person described Gaelic as ‘the tinker's language ’, so that there's obviously some sort of snobbery about the language going on there.’
    • ‘The old tinker took a stick of solder from a bag at his side and laid its tip against where the edges of the tube and the circle met.’
    • ‘Finally, she was joined by an old bearded tinker who had come down to the shore with his heavy canvas bag of tradesman's tools.’
    • ‘So this week we salute Valentine: tinker, tailor, soldier, priest and, above all, patron saint of card manufacturers.’
    • ‘Christopher Sly, a drunken old tinker, is conned into watching The Taming of the Shrew as it is presented by a company of players.’
    1. 1.1British derogatory A Gypsy or other person living in an itinerant community.
      • ‘In Scotland and Ireland gypsies were often called tinkers because of their similar wandering life-style.’
      • ‘The gypsies or tinkers as they were better known walked around the fair the whole day trying to sell ponnies, strainers and tin cans to reluctant buyers.’
      • ‘Quite near us, in Wigton, just beyond the cemetery, was a place called Black Tippoe and that was where gypsies and tinkers used to come and winter there.’
  • 2British informal A mischievous child.

    • ‘little tinkers, we were’
    • ‘When he's finished caressing my windows with as little elbow-grease as is humanly possible, the little tinker always insists that he hasn't got any change.’
    mischievous child, imp, monkey, Puck, rascal, rogue, minx, mischief-maker, prankster, tearaway
    View synonyms
  • 3An act of attempting to repair something.

    ‘I had a brief tinker with my blog template earlier, really to just try and figure out which lines relate to which part of the screen.’


[no object]
  • Attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way.

    ‘he spent hours tinkering with the car’
    • ‘Solutions do not lie in tinkering with the system, fiddling while Earth burns.’
    • ‘We shouldn't be tinkering with the checks and balances our founding fathers put in this constitution.’
    • ‘Luckily, I was tinkering with a design for a different site and I've decided to steal that for my re-design.’
    • ‘Usually, my second drafts involve tinkering with what's already there and straightening out sentences.’
    • ‘She enjoys sitting on the counter as I'm tinkering with something, and she'll often lend a paw to stir something.’
    • ‘Some villager somewhere is out working in front of his garage, tinkering with something as he usually is.’
    • ‘After tinkering with the controls for some time, I did find the right settings that I was very comfortable with.’
    • ‘I'm not convinced that people are going to spend that much time tinkering with their searches.’
    • ‘I started on motorcycles, but after two years as a mechanic in the air force I thought I'd make more money tinkering with cars.’
    • ‘Blogging to me is as much about tinkering with the technology as it is about writing interesting articles on a regular basis.’
    • ‘The Government simply tinkers a bit at the edges with a budget surplus or deficit that runs at a little over one per cent of GDP - neither here nor there.’
    • ‘I've been tinkering a bit, so do please tell me if you have any difficulty posting comments here or linking to any part of this site.’
    • ‘Not knowing what to make of this strange jargon, I was uncertain as to what kind of music would soon be blaring out of the powerful-looking speakers being tinkered with.’
    • ‘Probably the image was tinkered with a bit to bring out the highlights, but it's impressive nonetheless.’
    • ‘Occasionally, it is tinkered with but there are few profound adaptations.’
    • ‘While the motion was tinkered with, the decision was made to reject the draft plan.’
    • ‘In fact, in his spare time, he started tinkering a bit with some metalwork for just such a rifle.’
    • ‘In the early 1980s the map was tinkered with, forcing both the Midlands and the South into splitting their large regions into 2 sub-regions.’
    • ‘The teenaged Cure played jagged, edgy pop songs before the group tinkered their way upwards into a more complex and competent machine.’
    • ‘How can we sensibly plan for our retirement when the fundamentals are constantly tinkered with and the goalposts keep being moved?’
    try to improve, try to mend, work amateurishly on, fiddle with, play with, play about with, play around with, toy with, trifle with, dally with, dabble with, potter about with, fool about with, fool around with
    View synonyms


    not give a tinker's cuss
    • Not care at all.

      ‘I don't give a tinker's damn if you believe me or not!’
      ‘I couldn't give a tinker's cuss what becomes of it’
      • ‘If American jets take out Iranian enrichment facilities, I don't give a tinker's damn if the man who gave the go-order was a D or an R.’
      • ‘These people don't give a tinker's damn about anyone in uniform.’
      • ‘I don't give a tinker's damn whether we withdraw unilaterally or multilaterally.’
      • ‘Now, they didn't give a tinker's damn about what happened to their own people, otherwise they wouldn't have murdered so many millions of them in the first place.’
      • ‘I'm no accident - and I don't give a tinker's damn what you think.’
      • ‘I don't give a tinker's damn what the hell you think in this case.’
      • ‘Which can be taken to read either: ‘They don't give a tinker's cuss about the EU ’, or ‘They're thick’.’
      • ‘His expression bleak, he continued, ‘I frankly don't give a tinker's curse about that end of it.'’
      • ‘They never gave a tinker's cuss about the real issue of the mental hospital.’


Middle English (first recorded in Anglo-Latin as a surname): of unknown origin.