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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.]

tin′ker·er n.
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.


the act of making some small changes to something, in an attempt to improve it or repair it
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
Let tinkers' brats do tinkerings; we are their betters.
"Over these years, SRJNA became a well-known brand among schools in India for setting up Innovation Labs and Atal Tinkering Labs in over 180 plus schools indirectly benefiting more than 80,000 students across India.
The school has established the first 'Atal Tinkering Lab' which is slated to be inaugurated by HE P Kumaran, Ambassador of India to Qatar, in Birla Public School (main campus, Abu Hamour) on October 14, 2018.
Beehives shaped like humans or animals were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.Craftspeople making their way out to the worldWhat Slovaks were known for during the monarchy was tinkering.
At every stage in development, different human tinkering skills are valued -- from rocks and vines and sinews to code in a million years or so.
At its core, tinkering is getting things right, before we make needless costly and perhaps disastrous mistakes.
While there are many factors that play a role in creating curious learners, we will focus here upon three key aspects: tinkering, modeling, and acceptance of failure.
Disney obviously had no ambition of tinkering with formula here.
But Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman) is bitterly disappointed that her special talent of tinkering isn't up there with the talents of some of her friends.
Studies in evolutionary development biology have shown that most evolution at the population and species levels consists of small-scale alterations in developmental pathways within a single body plan (also called "tinkering") rather than evolution of entirely new body plans.
TINKERING: CONSUMERS REINVENT THE EARLY AUTOMOBILE traces these homespun inventors, covering their achievements, their reasons for changing the car, and their ingenuity.