tinkering


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tin·ker

 (tĭng′kər)
n.
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
v.intr.
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.
v.tr.
1. To mend as a tinker.
2. To manipulate unskillfully or experimentally.

[Middle English tinkere.]

tin′ker·er n.

tinkering

(ˈtɪŋkərɪŋ)
n
the act of making some small changes to something, in an attempt to improve it or repair it
Translations
References in classic literature ?
Only Beaudelet remained behind, tinkering at his boat, and Mariequita walked away with her basket of shrimps, casting a look of childish ill humor and reproach at Robert from the corner of her eye.
WE didn't get done tinkering the machinery till away late in the afternoon, and so it was so close to sundown when we got home that we never stopped on our road, but made a break for the sycamores as tight as we could go, to tell Jake what the delay was, and have him wait till we could go to Brace's and find out how things was there.
A splinter from the projectile had damaged one of the control levers beyond the possibility of repair outside a machine shop; but after considerable tinkering, Carthoris was able to propel his wounded flier at low speed, a rate which could not approach the rapid gait of the thoat, whose eight long, powerful legs carried it over the ochre vegetation of the dead sea-bottom at terrific speed.
Look what Stanley said the other day--that the House had been tinkering long enough at small questions of bribery, inquiring whether this or that voter has had a guinea when everybody knows that the seats have been sold wholesale.
But the doctor insisted upon stretching him upon the sward, and tinkering with him until the wounds were cleansed and the flow of blood checked.