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

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
tinkerer noun


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

Examples of tinker in a Sentence

Verb He was tinkering in the garage.
Recent Examples on the Web
The four-track body of work boasts haunting build-ups, twirling and tinkering synths, melodious tunes, nightmarish tones and beats so hard that listeners can feel the punch of the bass in their bodies. Lisa Kocay, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024 Ragans refined his slider and tinkered with a two-seam fastball. Jaylon Thompson, Kansas City Star, 26 Feb. 2024 Requiring a two-thirds majority to amend Hungary’s constitution, Fidesz often tinkers with the constitution Orban introduced in 2011. Christian Edwards, CNN, 17 Feb. 2024 Projects change daily so kids get the chance to explore and create a variety of work at the craft tables, tinkering stations and the on-site science lab. Kathy Buccio, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 In the meantime, he’s been tinkering with two generators and a tiller that were also damaged in the storm. Blake Nelson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Feb. 2024 Manager Brandon Hyde used Henderson at leadoff frequently down the stretch but often tinkered with the lineup depending on matchups. Matt Weyrich, Baltimore Sun, 6 Feb. 2024 Pop stars started stepping in front of the camera just to chart more hits, but as the Beatles made pop art and auteurs started tinkering with Hollywood formulas, the possibilities for soundtracks expanded exponentially. Stephen Deusner, SPIN, 22 Jan. 2024 After months of tinkering, scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston finally dislodged two stuck fasteners that had kept the pieces of the asteroid Bennu out of researchers’ hands. Corinne Purtill, Los Angeles Times, 21 Jan. 2024
Teams largely use a first-of-the-year preseason test to tinker with setup ideas envisioned during the offseason or to test new parts and their effectiveness. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Feb. 2023 Major whiskey brands like to tinker with their formula when coming up with new series and collections. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 3 July 2022 This capability would allow scientists to give an organism’s DNA an extreme makeover, rather than just tinker with it. Ed Regis, Discover Magazine, 24 June 2010 Evansville Day didn't tinker with Rivet, scoring a 67-32 result in the win column on February 1 in Indiana boys high school basketball. Indy Star Ai Sports, The Indianapolis Star, 2 Feb. 2023 Beyond that, Antonetti and company didn’t tinker with the Guardians’ still very-young core, which features plenty of speed and aggressiveness. Jim Ingraham, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 Netflix film that streams Friday, Jan. 13, does not tinker with the formula. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 13 Jan. 2023 The Lumineers tinker on the sound system, and there are strategic candles that smell invigorating and a little mysterious (amberwood, pine, and fig). Ben Court, Men's Health, 22 Dec. 2022 Tesla engineers will continue to tinker with the Cybertruck model, with an eye on 2023, Musk said. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tinker.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English tinkere

First Known Use


1655, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near tinker

Cite this Entry

“Tinker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tinker. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
tin·​ker ˈtiŋ-kər How to pronounce tinker (audio)
: a person who travels around and earns a living by repairing household utensils (as pots and pans)


2 of 2 verb
tinkered; tinkering ˈtiŋ-k(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce tinker (audio)
: to repair or adjust something in an unskilled or experimental manner
tinkering with his car
tinkerer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on tinker

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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