tinker

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • v tinker try to fix or mend "Can you tinker with the T.V. set--it's not working right","She always fiddles with her van on the weekend"
    • v tinker do random, unplanned work or activities or spend time idly "The old lady is usually mucking about in her little house"
    • v tinker work as a tinker or tinkerer
    • n tinker small mackerel found nearly worldwide
    • n tinker formerly a person (traditionally a Gypsy) who traveled from place to place mending pots and kettles and other metal utensils as a way to earn a living
    • n tinker a person who enjoys fixing and experimenting with machines and their parts
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Tinker A mender of brass kettles, pans, and other metal ware. "Tailors and tinkers ."
    • Tinker (Zoöl) A skate.
    • Tinker (Ordnance) A small mortar on the end of a staff.
    • Tinker (Zoöl) A young mackerel about two years old.
    • Tinker One skilled in a variety of small mechanical work.
    • Tinker (Zoöl) The chub mackerel.
    • Tinker (Zoöl) The razor-billed auk.
    • Tinker (Zoöl) The silversides.
    • v. i Tinker To busy one's self in mending old kettles, pans, etc.; to play the tinker; to be occupied with small mechanical works.
    • v. t Tinker To mend or solder, as metal wares; hence, more generally, to mend.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n tinker A playfully abusive epithet for a child.
    • n tinker A mender of household utensils of tin, brass, copper, and iron; one who goes from place to place with tools and appliances for mending kettles, pans, etc. Tinkers have usually been regarded as the lowest order of craftsmen, and their occupation has been often pursued, especially by gipsies, as a mere cover for vagabondage.
    • n tinker The act of mending, especially metal-work; the doing of the work of a tinker.
    • n tinker A botcher; a bungler; an unskilful or clumsy worker; one who makes bungling attempts at making or mending something; also, a “jack of all trades,” not necessarily unskilful.
    • n tinker An awkward or unskilful effort to do something; a tinkering attempt; a botch; a bungle.
    • n tinker In ordnance, a small mortar fixed on a stake, and fired by a trigger and lanyard.
    • n tinker A small mackerel, or one about two years old; also, the chub-mackerel. See tinker mackerel, under mackerel.
    • n tinker The silversides, a fish. See cut under silver-sides.
    • n tinker A stickleback, specifically the tenspined, Gasterosteus (or Pygosteus) pungitius.
    • n tinker The skate.
    • n tinker The razor-billed auk, Alca or Utamania torda. See cut under razorbill.
    • n tinker A kind of seal. [Newfoundland.] A guillemot. Also tinkershire.
    • tinker To repair or put to rights, as a piece of metal-work.
    • tinker To repair or put into shape rudely, temporarily, or as an unskilled workman: used in allusion to the imperfect and makeshift character of ordinary work in metals: often with up, to patch up.
    • tinker To do the work of a tinker upon metal or the like.
    • tinker To work generally in an experimental or botchy way; occupy one's self with a thing carelessly or in a meddlesome way: as, to tinker with the tariff.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Tinker tingk′ėr a mender of brazen or tin kettles, pans, &c
    • v.t Tinker to repair, esp. unskilfully
    • v.i Tinker to do tinker's work: to make a botch or mess of anything
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Quotations

  • Royal Little
    Royal Little
    “Never let an inventor run a company. You can never get him to stop tinkering and bring something to market.”
  • Arthur Bloch
    Arthur Bloch
    “If you improve or tinker with something long enough, eventually it will break or malfunction.”
  • Paul Erlich
    Paul Erlich
    “The first rule to tinkering is to save all the parts.”
  • Paul Ehrlich
    Paul Ehrlich
    “The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.”

Idioms

Not worth a tinker's dam - This means that something is worthless and dates back to when someone would travel around the countryside repairing things such as a kitchen pot with a hole in it. He was called a 'tinker'. His dam was used to stop the flow of soldering material being used to close the hole. Of course his 'trade' is passé, thus his dam is worth nothing.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Tink, because the tinker's way of proclaiming his trade is to beat a kettle, or because in his work he makes a tinkling, noise. Johnson,

Usage

In literature:

He came to Barren Valley, and they tinkered round together, and they found gold.
"The Odds" by Ethel M. Dell
The crew tinkered things up some way, and the train proceeded.
"Empire Builders" by Francis Lynde
But an absolute tinker, my dear.
"The Safety Curtain, and Other Stories" by Ethel M. Dell
It is not, as a fused product, worth a tinker's hoot.
"The Pride of Palomar" by Peter B. Kyne
The ex-tinker picked up the bottle with the candle.
"All on the Irish Shore" by E. Somerville and Martin Ross
It must not run to "art" and it must not be mere tinkering.
"Wage Earning and Education" by R. R. Lutz
Here a poor tinker passing by picked it up and put it in his wallet.
"English Fairy Tales" by Flora Annie Steel
The hardest captain that Jonathan Tinker ever sailed with was Captain Gooding of the Cape.
"Modern Prose And Poetry; For Secondary Schools" by Various
Serafino too had mentioned himself, to a neighbour, his suspicion of the tinker's having saved money.
"Rome in 1860" by Edward Dicey
If you tinker them, you'll not be able to run fast enough nor far enough to get away from me.
"The Quickening" by Francis Lynde
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In poetry:

Bow, wow, wow,
Whose dog art thou?
Little Tom Tinker's dog,
Bow, wow, wow.
"Caesar's Song" by Anonymous British
Where tinker's or gypsy's
Brats at play
Made vagrant's game of
Some citizen's way.
"Jackdaw" by Padraic Colum
Said Sym: "Kind friends, and fellow Glugs;
My trade is mending pots and mugs.
I tinker kettles, and I rhyme
To please myself and pass the time,
Just as my fancy wandereth."
("He's minel" quoth Stodge, below his breath.)
"The Debate" by C J Dennis
The servants told him to untrim
And let them see if he could swim.
The Tinker turn'd a little souer,
But there's no standing against power.
Then, with main strength, they forc'd him in,
Which took him fully to the chin.
"Lord Chesterfield And The Tinker" by William Hutton
"Yet," said Sym, as he tinkered his can,
"What should you know of her, Emily Ann?
Early as cock-crow yester morn
I watched young sunbeams, newly born,
As out of the East they frolicked and ran,
Eager to greet her, my Emily Arm."
"Emily Ann" by C J Dennis
"But haste!" they cried. "By the palace gates
A sorrowing king for a tinker waits.
And what shall we answer our Lord the King
If never a tinker hence we bring,
To tinker a kingdom so sore amiss?"
But Sym, he said to them, "Answer him this:
"Emily Ann" by C J Dennis

In news:

For store owner Duane Lewis, it's a workshop where he tinkers with the old and gives them a new light.
The Tinkers Creek aqueduct is one of only four working aqueducts in the Cuyahoga River watershed.
Tinkering with scraps becomes artful display.
The Champ visits Tinker Air Force Base.
Tinker may be miniature - as in a miniature horse - but he's a big money raiser for the Salvation Army.
20 Percent Time' to Tinker Spreads Beyond Google.
Cameron Tinker of Tinker's Cake Shop's winning "gingerbird house.".
The future of space travel doesn't look like a Buck Rogers-style rocket poised to roar straight up into the twinkling heavens from a tinkerer's backyard.
Giants' defense 'tinkering' with ways to get more consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Summers were spent in Mary's elegant mansion and winters were spent in Tinker's cozy cottage .
Tinker the Horse to Rings Bells at the Holiday Craft Fair.
Tinker the Horse to Rings Bells at the Holiday Craft Fair .
The site is in front of Abundant Flowers and across from Tinker Air Force Base.
A year and a day before the start of the 2002 Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee had a message today for Salt Lake City 's Olympic organizers: don't tinker with tradition.
"The Descendants" (winner) "Hugo" "The Ides of March" "Moneyball" "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy".
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In science:

Besides confirming the non-universal behaviour of the high end of the HMF, Crocce et al. (2010); Tinker et al. (2008) also pointed out that using more accurate second–order Lagrangian perturbation theory to set initial conditions could is relevant for an accurate HMF calibration.
The effects of baryons on the halo mass function
Tinker et al. (2008) included a non–radiative hydrodynamical simulation of a large cosmological volume within the large set of simulations that they analyzed, without however discussing in detail the effect of baryons on the HMF.
The effects of baryons on the halo mass function
Convergence of the mass function against changing initial redshift and effect of using second-order Lagrangian Perturbation Theory (2LPT) have been discussed by Tinker et al. (2008) and Crocce et al. (2010).
The effects of baryons on the halo mass function
Each of the two halo finders has its own advantages and shortcomings (see more details in Jenkins et al. 2001; White 2001; Tinker et al. 2008, etc), and the difference of halo mass and HMF defined by the two methods have been discussed in several analysis, (e.g.
The effects of baryons on the halo mass function
Finally, since the groups identified by FoF algorithm have by definition no overlapping, we do not include in our identification of SO halos any restriction to prevent such overlapping (see Tinker et al. 2008 for a discussion on halo overlapping).
The effects of baryons on the halo mass function
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