Etymology
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tinker (n.)

"mender of kettles, pots, pans, etc.," late 14c. (mid-13c. as a surname), of uncertain origin. Some connect the word with the sound made by light hammering on metal. Tinker's damn "something slight and worthless" is from 1824, probably preserving tinkers' reputation for free and casual use of profanity; the plain and simple etymology is not good enough for some writers, and since 1877 an ingeniously elaborate but baseless derivation has been circulated claiming the second word is really dam.

tinker (v.)

1590s, "to work as a tinker," from tinker (n.). Meaning "work imperfectly, keep busy in a useless way," is first found 1650s. Related: Tinkered; tinkering.

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Definitions of tinker
1
tinker (v.)
do random, unplanned work or activities or spend time idly;
Synonyms: putter / mess around / potter / monkey / monkey around / muck about / muck around
tinker (v.)
work as a tinker or tinkerer;
tinker (v.)
try to fix or mend;
Can you tinker with the T.V. set--it's not working right
Synonyms: fiddle
2
tinker (n.)
a person who enjoys fixing and experimenting with machines and their parts;
Synonyms: tinkerer
tinker (n.)
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;
tinker (n.)
small mackerel found nearly worldwide;
Synonyms: chub mackerel / Scomber japonicus
From wordnet.princeton.edu