tin·​ker | \ ˈtiŋ-kər How to pronounce tinker (audio) \
tinkered; tinkering\ ˈtiŋ-​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce tinker (audio) \

Definition of tinker

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to work in the manner of a tinker especially : to repair, adjust, or work with something in an unskilled or experimental manner : fiddle always tinkering with his car

transitive verb

: to repair, adjust, or experiment with


plural tinkers

Definition of tinker (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a usually itinerant mender of household utensils
b : an unskillful mender : bungler
2 chiefly Ireland, sometimes offensive : romani sense 1

Other Words from tinker


tinkerer \ ˈtiŋ-​kər-​ər How to pronounce tinker (audio) \ noun

Examples of tinker in a Sentence

Verb He was tinkering in the garage.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the regular season, Kerr can tinker with his lineups because the stakes are relatively low. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Apr. 2022 Clayton Kershaw will tinker with a changeup, hint at the possibility of incorporating it full time into his arsenal, then abandon the pitch once the games count. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2022 The athletes can tinker and adjust the runners on training days. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2022 Instead, there’s a small team of architects, designers and chefs who tinker with sugar sculptures and recipes, building with modded and food-safe 3-D printers that are more typically used for metalworking. Stephanie Breijo, Los Angeles Times, 5 Dec. 2021 Maybe the Dodgers didn’t need to tinker with their pitching to advance to the NLCS. Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 Considering Los Angeles is in a arms race with the Brooklyn Nets — a similar superpower team with arguably a stronger roster — the Lakers will definitely tinker with their active roster by the end of the season. Dj Siddiqi, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 Shrewd managers will continually tinker with their roster each week, overturning the bottom to bring in the best possible backups and bye week replacements. Alex Kay, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 Advance scouting reports will adjust to them and opponents will tinker with their schemes to exploit weaknesses. J. Michael, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Get hands-on with fun exhibits, see a movie or tinker in MakerPlace. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, 4 May 2022 Even better, its challenge is disguised in the form of a tinker-toy. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 22 Apr. 2022 The possible outcomes for the division’s heavyweights fall somewhere between tinker and overhaul. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Nov. 2021 This hackable, programmable micro PC is a great option for anyone—computer science major or otherwise—who wants to tinker and experiment with software or hardware. Scott Gilbertson, Wired, 9 Aug. 2021 After graduating from university, Jacob and Karsten began to tinker. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2022 So this is a team unafraid to tinker with conventional thinking. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Apr. 2022 Get hands-on with fun exhibits, see a movie or tinker in MakerPlace. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, 6 Apr. 2022 Scenes unfold with anesthetizing sameness and little discernible effort by the filmmakers to toy with our nerves or tinker with our expectations. Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of tinker


1655, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tinker


Middle English tinkere

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Time Traveler for tinker

Time Traveler

The first known use of tinker was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near tinker



tinker's curse

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Statistics for tinker

Last Updated

28 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tinker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tinker. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tinker


tin·​ker | \ ˈtiŋ-kər How to pronounce tinker (audio) \
tinkered; tinkering

Kids Definition of tinker

: to repair or adjust something in an unskilled or experimental manner


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