Definition of tinker in English:


Line breaks: tin¦ker
Pronunciation: /ˈtɪŋkə


  • 1(Especially in former times) a person who makes a living by travelling from place to place mending pans and other metal utensils.
    More example sentences
    • The tinkers live by mending pots and pans, telling fortunes and selling horses and ponies at the various fairs throughout the country.
    • For the first time in his life, Yllek felt a sense of awe and wonder regarding his native city, and began to understand the underlying truth behind the stories borne by travelling tinkers and bards through the outlying lands.
    • The travelling folk, or tinkers, were often treated as second-class citizens, with heartbreaking consequences.
  • 1.1British , chiefly • derogatory A Gypsy or other person living in an itinerant community.
    More example sentences
    • In Scotland and Ireland gypsies were often called tinkers because of their similar wandering life-style.
    • The gypsies or tinkers as they were better known walked around the fair the whole day trying to sell ponnies, strainers and tin cans to reluctant buyers.
    • Quite near us, in Wigton, just beyond the cemetery, was a place called Black Tippoe and that was where gypsies and tinkers used to come and winter there.
  • 2British informal A mischievous child: little tinkers, we were
    More example sentences
    • When he's finished caressing my windows with as little elbow-grease as is humanly possible, the little tinker always insists that he hasn't got any change.
  • 3An act of attempting to repair something.
    More example sentences
    • I had a brief tinker with my blog template earlier, really to just try and figure out which lines relate to which part of the screen.


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not give a tinker's curse (or cuss or damn)

informal Not care at all: I don’t give a tinker’s damn if you believe me or not!
More example sentences
  • If American jets take out Iranian enrichment facilities, I don't give a tinker's damn if the man who gave the go-order was a D or an R.
  • These people don't give a tinker's damn about anyone in uniform.
  • I don't give a tinker's damn whether we withdraw unilaterally or multilaterally.



More example sentences
  • But critics argue the flag is the latest attempt to wrest control from consumers, stifle innovation, create inconvenience, turn tinkerers into criminals and raise prices - all for a technology that won't stop piracy anyway.
  • Only rich tinkerers could afford an automobile before Henry Ford developed an assembly line to make cars cheap and reliable enough for everyone.
  • More than mere tinkerers, record-breakers push the world of possibility beyond the borders of perceived reality.


Middle English (first recorded in Anglo-Latin as a surname): of unknown origin.

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