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
plural tinkers

Definition of tinker (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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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

Manager Mike Shildt could channel Roberts with some extreme lineup tinkering in October. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "World Series Power Rankings: Which Division Leader Should Be the Title Favorite?," 3 Sep. 2019 John loved to tinker in his yard and was very much a handyman. courant.com, "John B. Birse," 19 July 2019 Douglas has been tinkering with the roster the past few weeks during training camp, trying to add depth at positions that need help such as cornerback, linebacker and offensive line. Dennis Waszak Jr., courant.com, "Jets GM Douglas ‘fired up’ to improve team before season," 25 Aug. 2019 Thursday, Roark was using his fastball liberally, getting strikeouts with both his four-seamer and his two-seamer, but still mixed in his slider, curveball and even his changeup, which he’s been tinkering with a bit. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s sweep Yankees behind another terrific start by Roark," 22 Aug. 2019 Thunder general manager Sam Presti was tinkering with a potential title contender at the beginning of free agency two weeks ago. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Russell Westbrook Plays for the Rockets. Why Not?," 12 July 2019 Humans have been tinkering with other species since at least the dawn of civilization, from domesticating dogs to breeding more productive crops. Umair Irfan, Vox, "3 scientists sped up evolution in a lab. Their work just won a Nobel Prize.," 3 Oct. 2018 The Philadelphia company has been tinkering with the traditional cable bundle, offering stand-alone subscriptions for some types of video along with smaller bundles of cable channels delivered over the internet. Mae Anderson, chicagotribune.com, "Comcast challenges Disney with $65 billion bid for Fox," 13 June 2018 Those who want to see literally every possible path through the game’s narrative will be busy for dozens of hours just tinkering with all the meaningful choices available. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Detroit: Become Human review: Robotic in all of the wrong ways," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Budget Support Act, which was approved Tuesday, also included tinkers to public safety, transportation and other portions of the spending plan. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "D.C. Council moves to add money to schools that faced budget cuts," 18 June 2019 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

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

13th 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

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tinker

The first known use of tinker was in the 13th 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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