English Dictionary

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tinker (ˈtɪŋkə Pronunciation for tinker



  1. (esp formerly) a travelling mender of pots and pans
  2. a clumsy worker
  3. the act of tinkering
  4. (Scottish & Irish) another name for Gypsy
  5. (British, informal) a mischievous child
  6. any of several small mackerels that occur off the North American coast of the Atlantic


  1. (intransitive) foll by with to play, fiddle, or meddle (with machinery, etc), esp while undertaking repairs
  2. to mend (pots and pans) as a tinker

Derived Forms

ˈtinkerer noun

Word Origin

C13 tinkere, perhaps from tink tinkle, of imitative origin


View thesaurus entry
= meddle, play, toy, monkey, potter, fiddle, dabble, mess about, muck about

Translations for 'tinker'

  • British English: tinker If you tinker with something, you make some small changes to it, in an attempt to improve it or repair it. VERB
  • Brazilian Portuguese: remendar
  • Chinese: 小修改
  • European Spanish: retocar
  • French: bricoler
  • German: herumbasteln
  • Italian: armeggiare
  • Japanese: いじる
  • Korean: 어설프게 손보다
  • Portuguese: remendar
  • Spanish: retocar

Example Sentences Including 'tinker'

And some people wanted to tinker with the balance of green space and built-up territory.
Globe and Mail (2003)
Click here for all new hot soap babes "I have had a mint year," said the little tinker.
Megastar (2005)
He had been about to say ` tinker ", a word now thought too insulting to use.
Bringle, Mary Death of an Unknown Man
He's the nearest thing to a gipsy you can get these days. He's a - what's the word, not a gamekeeper, that's too obvious - he's a tinker.
Wright, Eric A Body Surrounded by Water
I worked my way up from a bloody tinker 's caravan to get here.
Alexandra Connor THE TURN OF THE TIDE (2004)
Not that Mr. Chrtien wouldn't tinker with Mr. Martin's budgets.
Globe and Mail (2003)
The DUP today warned the Government against attempting to tinker around the issue of unionist consent to the Agreement.
Belfast Telegraph (2003)
Wanted me to tinker with his nose when I was done with his teeth.
Tapply, William G The Dutch Blue Error


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