1. A traveling mender of metal household utensils.
2. Chiefly British A member of any of various traditionally itinerant groups of people living especially in Scotland and Ireland; a traveler.
3. One who enjoys experimenting with and repairing machine parts.
4. A clumsy repairer or worker; a meddler.
v. tin·kered, tin·ker·ing, tin·kers
1. To work as a tinker.
2. To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repair; fiddle: tinkered with the engine, hoping to discover the trouble; tinkering with the economy by trying various fiscal policies.
1. To mend as a tinker.
2. To manipulate unskillfully or experimentally.
[Middle English tinkere.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.