Meaning of tinker in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtɪŋkə/

See synonyms for tinker

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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An old tinker used to go about the country with his kit of tools, mending brass and other wares.’
    • ‘A tinker knocked on the door and asked if I had any pans to mend.’
    1. 1.1British offensive A Traveller, Romani, or other person living in an itinerant community.
  • 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
    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 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.