tinker

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

tinker

noun

Definition of tinker (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a usually itinerant mender of household utensils
b : an unskillful mender : bungler
2 chiefly Irish : gypsy

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Other Words from tinker

Verb

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

Examples of tinker in a Sentence

Verb

He was tinkering in the garage.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mina opened the restaurant about five years ago as a low-risk way to tinker with different business models, designs and menus. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Michael Mina closes Mina Test Kitchen and Instagram-friendly U :Dessert Story will replace it," 5 June 2019 And scientists are finding that using probiotics to tinker with the gut's bacteria balance may offer a new way of keeping people healthy. Beth Janes, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About Probiotics, According to Experts," 11 May 2019 Like college basketball itself, which often tinkers with its rules, March Madness pools are evolving as participants seek more variation, strategy and drama. Jeff Barker, baltimoresun.com, "Legal issues aside, popular March Madness pools grow more sophisticated," 14 Mar. 2018 Some guys were tinkering in their garage, trying to get more horsepower out of the engines that Detroit was building. Mark Anthony Green, GQ, "We Took Killer Mike to Test Drive the New Generation of American Muscle Cars," 7 Mar. 2018 Microsoft’s tinkering with core system components have recently caused other headaches with software that sinks deep hooks into your operating system. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "The latest Windows patch is breaking even more PCs with antivirus installed," 19 Apr. 2019 Once again, an area of the game that could be subject to tinkering registers little complaint with players. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "MLB players survey: Sounding off on umps, shifts, steroids - and whether to strike back," 28 June 2018 But tinkering with the deal could represent a political minefield. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "Ivan Duque beats former guerrilla to win Colombia's presidential election," 17 June 2018 For now, the scientific consensus still holds: Most experts think CRISPR isn’t ready for tinkering in humans outside of a serious medical need. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Is the CRISPR baby controversy the start of a terrifying new chapter in gene editing?," 22 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Dennis Schminke, a Republican Party activist who worked at Hormel Foods for 38 years, tinkers in his garage in Austin, Minn. Dan Balz, Washington Post, "Loyalty, unease in Trump’s Midwest," 10 May 2018 Many channels have suffered steep declines in ad sales as YouTube — an arm of Alphabet Inc.’s Google — tinkers with which videos are eligible for publicity. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "YouTube offers its stars the option to sell subscriptions," 22 June 2018 Many channels have suffered steep declines in ad sales as Google’s YouTube tinkers with which videos are eligible for publicity. Lucas Shaw, Bloomberg.com, "YouTube Is Offering a Talent Option to Sell Subscriptions," 22 June 2018 The pair tinker and exhibit above an old rubber-and-metals workshop in Mullae-dong, a run-down industrial neighbourhood of Seoul. The Economist, "Prophets and profitsIn South Korea fortune-telling will soon be a $3.7bn business," 24 Feb. 2018 The Dodgers also made a few tinkers to their coaching staff, and could lose bullpen coach Josh Bard to the Yankees. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "With Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton off the market, where will Dodgers turn?," 11 Dec. 2017 There, in a stone house about a quarter-mile from the Lebanese border, Mr. Komarovsky, 55, tinkers with his latest culinary creations: a whole-eggplant dish roasted in his pizza oven, or a free-form babka with quince plucked from his garden. Joan Nathan, New York Times, "An Israeli Chef Looks to the Landscape," 8 Sep. 2017 Tax cuts have emerged as an issue ahead of Germany’s national election next month, with both major parties promising various timid tinkers to the personal income-tax rate and exemptions. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Europe’s Taxes Aren’t as Progressive as Its Leaders Like to Think," 3 Aug. 2017 Segar tinkers with Photoshop to produce special effects, like enhancing the colors of a sunset or softening the overall image. Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community, "Portrait Photographer Babies Her Tiny Subjects," 12 July 2017

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.

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First Known Use of tinker

Verb

1592, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tinker

Noun

Middle English tinkere

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Statistics for tinker

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tinker

The first known use of tinker was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tinker

tinker

verb

English Language Learners Definition of tinker

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to try to repair or improve something (such as a machine) by making small changes or adjustments to it

tinker

noun

English Language Learners Definition of tinker (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who in the past traveled to different places and made money by selling or repairing small items (such as pots and pans)

tinker

verb
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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More from Merriam-Webster on tinker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tinker

Spanish Central: Translation of tinker

Nglish: Translation of tinker for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tinker for Arabic Speakers

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