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v. tam·pered, tam·per·ing, tam·pers
a. To interfere in a harmful or disruptive manner; meddle: was worried the editor would tamper with her text.
b. To make alterations or adjustments, especially secretly so as to subvert an intended purpose or function: tamper with a lock; discovered that the brakes had been tampered with.
c. To engage in improper or secret actions, as in an effort to influence an outcome: tamper with evidence; tamper with a jury.
2. To tinker rashly or foolishly: "The ability of chemists to create new drugs from natural compounds raises an old argument about whether human beings should tamper with nature" (Andrew Weil).
To alter improperly.
[Probably alteration of temper.]
A neutron reflector in an atomic bomb that also delays the expansion of the exploding material, making possible a longer-lasting, more energetic, and more efficient explosion.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.