tinkered


tinkered

noun

  1. a mender of pots, kettles, pans, etc., usually an itinerant.
  2. an unskillful or clumsy worker; bungler.
  3. a person skilled in various minor kinds of mechanical work; jack-of-all-trades.
  4. an act or instance of tinkering: Let me have a tinker at that motor.
  5. Scot., Irish English.
    1. a gypsy.
    2. any itinerant worker.
    3. a wanderer.
    4. a beggar.
  6. chub mackerel.

verb (used without object)

  1. to busy oneself with a thing without useful results: Stop tinkering with that clock and take it to the repair shop.
  2. to work unskillfully or clumsily at anything.
  3. to do the work of a tinker.

verb (used with object)

  1. to mend as a tinker.
  2. to repair in an unskillful, clumsy, or makeshift way.

noun

  1. (esp formerly) a travelling mender of pots and pans
  2. a clumsy worker
  3. the act of tinkering
  4. Scot and 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

verb

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

n.“mender of kettles, pots, pans, etc.,” mid-13c. (as a surname), of uncertain origin. Some connect the word with the sound made by light hammering on metal. The verb meaning “to keep busy in a useless way” is first found 1650s. Tinker’s damn “something slight and worthless” is from 1824, probably simply preserving tinkers’ reputation for free and casual use of profanity; more elaborate derivations exist, but seem to be just-so stories without evidence. In addition to the idiom beginning with tinker

  • tinker with
  • also see:

  • not worth a damn (tinker’s damn)
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