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 Though the true experts might tinker with cuts of meat in different combinations, a good starting position is with fat percentages. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 June 2022 With a day off Monday, the Orioles can tinker with the order to avoid calling up another starter. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 16 June 2022 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While the core of the Dodgers lineup might look the same most games, Roberts will have the opportunity to tinker in search of the right matchups. Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2022 And reducing federal policymakers’ discretion to tinker with the monetary system is the best way to truly fix the problem. Norbert Michel, Forbes, 16 June 2022 But there are sound arguments and growing support for Major League Baseball’s current eagerness to tinker with the rule book. David Wharton, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2022 Youngkin had one final chance to tinker with that budget, proposing about three dozen amendments that lawmakers took up Friday. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 18 June 2022 Again, these proposals were unveiled after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an event that the SEC’s central planners clearly believe to be of little significance compared with their plans to tinker with the climate. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 25 Mar. 2022 This is an exciting time to buy a big tent, as designers tinker with everything from architecture and durability to patterning and pockets. Ryan Stuart, Outside Online, 27 May 2022 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 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

9 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tinker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tinker. Accessed 14 Aug. 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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