1(especially in former times) a person who travels from place to place mending metal utensils as a way of making a living.‘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.’
- 1.1US A person who makes minor mechanical repairs, especially on a variety of appliances and apparatuses, usually for a living.
- ‘The more confident tinker may find sport in discharging large capacitors with a well insulated screwdriver (always use an old or borrowed one as this can result in quite nasty pitting of the tip).’
- 1.2British offensive A Traveller, Romani, or other person living in an itinerant community.
2An 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.’
intransitive verb[no object]
1Attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.‘he spent hours tinkering with the car’
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 withView synonyms
- ‘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?’
- 1.1 archaic with object Attempt to mend (something) by tinkering.
- not give a tinker's damn
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’
Middle English (first recorded in Anglo-Latin as a surname): of unknown origin.