- a mender of pots, kettles, pans, etc., usually an itinerant.
- an unskillful or clumsy worker; bungler.
- a person skilled in various minor kinds of mechanical work; jack-of-all-trades.
- an act or instance of tinkering: Let me have a tinker at that motor.
- Scot., Irish English.
- a gypsy.
- any itinerant worker.
- a wanderer.
- a beggar.
- chub mackerel.
verb (used without object)
- to busy oneself with a thing without useful results: Stop tinkering with that clock and take it to the repair shop.
- to work unskillfully or clumsily at anything.
- to do the work of a tinker.
verb (used with object)
- to mend as a tinker.
- to repair in an unskillful, clumsy, or makeshift way.
- (esp formerly) a travelling mender of pots and pans
- a clumsy worker
- the act of tinkering
- Scot and Irish another name for Gypsy
- British informal a mischievous child
- any of several small mackerels that occur off the North American coast of the Atlantic
- (intr foll by with) to play, fiddle, or meddle (with machinery, etc), esp while undertaking repairs
- 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