From Middle English tinkere, perhaps from Old English *tincere, from tin (“tin”) + Old English *cere (as in bēocere (“beekeeper”)), from Proto-Germanic *kazjaz (“vessel-maker”), from Proto-Germanic *kazą (“vessel; vat; tub”).
tinker (plural tinkers)
- an itinerant tinsmith and mender of household utensils made of tin
- (dated, chiefly Britain and Ireland, offensive) A member of the travelling community. A gypsy.
- (usually with "little") A mischievous person, especially a playful, impish youngster.
- Someone who repairs, or attempts repair on anything mechanical (tinkers) or invents; a tinkerer.
- The act of repair or invention.
- (military, obsolete) A hand mortar.
- Any of various fish: the chub mackerel, the silverside, the skate, or a young mackerel about two years old.
- A bird, the razor-billed auk.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for tinker in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)
- (mischievous person): rapscallion, rascal, rogue, scamp, scoundrel
- (member of the travelling community): traveller
- (intransitive) To fiddle with something in an attempt to fix, mend or improve it, especially in an experimental or unskilled manner.
- (intransitive) To work as a tinker.