tam·​per | \ ˈtam-pər How to pronounce tamper (audio) \
tampered; tampering\ ˈtam-​p(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce tampering (audio) \; tampers

Definition of tamper

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to interfere so as to weaken or change for the worse used with withdid not want to tamper with tradition
b : to try foolish or dangerous experiments used with with
c : to render something harmful or dangerous by altering its structure or composition was charged with tampering with consumer products
2a : to carry on underhand or improper negotiations (as by bribery)
b : to inflict physical harm, threats, intimidation, or corrupt persuasion with the goal of influencing or preventing a witness's testimony : to engage in witness tampering used with withThese alleged efforts were the basis for Mueller's accusation that Manafort was tampering with a witness, attempting to coach testimony, which would have violated the terms of his bail.— Franklin Foer


tamp·​er | \ ˈtam-pər How to pronounce tamper (audio) \
plural tampers

Definition of tamper (Entry 2 of 2)

: a tool for tamping : tamp entry 2 Using a tamper, tamp the coffee down into the filter …— Lexa Roséan After each truckload of earth fell onto the cobblestones of the Piazza's perimeter, a steamroller flattened it, and five relaxed-looking workmen … patted it smooth with shovels and wooden tampers, and hosed it down.— Lis Harris

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Other Words from tamper


tamperer \ ˈtam-​pər-​ər How to pronounce tamperer (audio) \ noun, plural tamperers
tamperproof \ ˈtam-​pər-​ˌprüf How to pronounce tamperproof (audio) \ adjective

Examples of tamper in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Four days after Arbery's shooting, Glynn County Police Chief John Powell was indicted for perjury and witness tampering and remains on administrative leave. Fox News, "Georgia police department at center of Arbery murder investigation has disturbing past filled with scandals, corruption," 15 May 2020 Jimmy diverted the case against Lalo (Tony Dalton) with some witness-tampering maneuvers. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Better Call Saul goes Bad in a stunning survival tale," 7 Apr. 2020 Trump also leaped to the defense Tuesday of Roger Stone, his longtime former adviser and friend who faces a prison sentence after being convicted by a jury of obstructing Congress and witness tampering in connection with the Russia investigation. Author: Philip Rucker, Paul Kane, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump escalates campaign of retribution as Republican senators shrug," 12 Feb. 2020 Russian or Chinese hackers tamper with preliminary reporting system in key counties. Jack Gillum, ProPublica, "Some Election-Related Websites Still Run on Vulnerable Software Older Than Many High Schoolers," 2 Mar. 2020 Former Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela faces charges of perjury, official oppression and evidence tamperingAfter exiting the courtroom, Vela and her supporters left the courthouse. Elizabeth Zavala, ExpressNews.com, "Former Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela makes first court appearance in San Antonio," 26 Feb. 2020 In November, Stone was convicted of witness tampering, lying to the House Intelligence Committee, and obstructing its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "“A grave threat”: More than 1,100 ex-DOJ officials call on Bill Barr to resign," 16 Feb. 2020 Tips, witnesses led to suspect:Court documents shed light on case of slain Texas mom Heidi Broussard Dec. 20:'Close friend' of missing Texas mom charged with kidnapping and evidence tamperingFieramusca faces up to life in prison if convicted. Tony Plohetski, USA TODAY, "Murder charge: Texas mom strangled by friend planning to pretend victim’s baby was her own," 28 Jan. 2020 They were arrested again in September on another evidence tampering charge. Michael Gold, New York Times, "Fotis Dulos, Charged With Killing His Wife, Jennifer, Attempts Suicide," 28 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tamper.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of tamper


1567, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1864, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tamper


probably from Middle French temprer to temper, mix, meddle — more at temper entry 2

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Time Traveler for tamper

Time Traveler

The first known use of tamper was in 1567

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Statistics for tamper

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tamper.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tamper. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for tamper


tam·​per | \ ˈtam-pər How to pronounce tamper (audio) \
tampered; tampering

Kids Definition of tamper

: to interfere or change in a secret or incorrect way Someone was tampering with the official records.

Legal Definition of tamper

1 : to bring improper influence to bear (as by bribery or intimidation) used with with tampered with the jurors
2 : to alter or interfere in an unauthorized or improper manner used with with tampered with evidence

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More from Merriam-Webster on tamper

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tamper

Spanish Central: Translation of tamper

Nglish: Translation of tamper for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tamper

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