tinker

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Tinker to Evers to Chance

A lengendary baseball double-play. The phrase is used as the refrain in the poem "Baseball's Sad Lexicon" by Franklin Piece Adams. It refers to three Chicago Cubs players from the early 20th century: Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance. I wish I had been born in an earlier era, so that I could have seen Tinker to Evers to Chance—not to mention Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and all the famous players of yore.
See also: chance, Ever, tinker

not give a tinker's damn

Fig. not to care at all. (A tinker's damn or dam may be a worthless curse from a tinker or a small dam or barrier used to contain molten metal.) I don't give a tinker's damn whether you go or not!
See also: damn, give, not

not worth a damn

Inf. worthless. This pen is not worth a damn. When it comes to keeping score, she's not worth a damn.
See also: damn, not, worth

tinker (around) (with something)

to meddle with something; to play with something, trying to get it to work or work better. Let me tinker around with it for a while and see if I can get it to work. Please don't tinker with the controls.

worth a damn

(slang) also worth a tinker's damn
to have value Kids in this city aren't getting an education that's worth a damn. I haven't asked enough people for my research to be worth a tinker's damn, but everyone I've talked to thinks it's a good idea.
See also: damn, worth

not give a tinker's cuss

  (British & Australian old-fashioned) also not give a tinker's damn (American old-fashioned)
to not be interested in or worried about something or someone (often + question word) I don't give a tinker's cuss what she thinks, I'll do what I want! He's never given a tinker's damn for me, or for any of the family.
See also: cuss, give

not worth a damn

Also, not worth a plugged nickel or red cent or bean or hill of beans or fig or straw or tinker's damn . Worthless, as in That car isn't worth a damn, or My new tennis racket is not worth a plugged nickel. As for the nouns here, a damn or curse is clearly of no great value (also see not give a damn); a plugged nickel in the 1800s referred to a debased five-cent coin; a cent denotes the smallest American coin, which was red when made of pure copper (1800s); a bean has been considered trivial or worthless since the late 1300s (Chaucer so used it), whereas hill of beans alludes to a planting method whereby four or five beans are put in a mound (and still are worthless); and both fig and straw have been items of no worth since about 1400. A tinker's dam, first recorded in 1877, was a wall of dough raised around a spot where a metal pipe is being repaired so as to hold solder in place until it hardens, whereupon the dam is discarded. However, tinker's damn was first recorded in 1839 and probably was merely an intensification of "not worth a damn," rather than having anything to do with the dam.
See also: damn, not, worth

tinker with

Try to repair, work aimlessly or unskillfully with, as in He tinkered with the engine all day but it still wouldn't start. This idiom, first recorded in 1658, alludes to working as a tinker, that is, mending metal utensils.
See also: tinker

tinker around

v.
To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repair or improvement: I tinkered around with the toaster to see if I could fix it. On the weekends, they like to tinker around in the garage.
See also: around, tinker

tinker with

v.
To make unskilled or experimental efforts at repairing or improving something: I tinkered with the engine, hoping to discover the trouble.
See also: tinker

not worth a damn

mod. worthless. When it comes to keeping score, she’s not worth a damn.
See also: damn, not, worth

tinker's damn

Something of no value. Itinerant tinsmiths known as tinkers were roughand- ready men who saw no reason to watch their language. They swore so frequently that their curse words had no value for emphasis or anything else, and so something that was said to be worth a tinker's damn had no merit or value at all.
See also: damn
References in periodicals archive ?
A lifelong tinkerer, who holds a master's degree in nuclear engineering, Johnson got his first patent in 1977 by educating himself at the library and then filing all the applications.
The midfield looks less authoritative and Babbel also has the problem of finding a team and sticking with it because he has a reputation as a tinkerer.
One piece of equipment often overlooked by the average home gunsmith and professional tinkerer is a quality trigger-pull gauge.
Behind the initiative is a tinkerer and gadfly named Dewayne Hendricks, who serves on the FCC's Technological Advisory Council.
While at his best Calder achieves grand effects, at heart he always remained something of a tinkerer.
Twenty-two-year-old Eddie Van Halen, you see, had the mind of not only a great musician, but also of an inventor--a constant tinkerer who was always messing with his gear; always trying this and that--sometimes destroying this and that--and always after something different.
An enthusiastic tinkerer, Kraft has extensive hands-on experience with hardware and software and is always ready to take on new engineering challenges.
Though his formal schooling ended at age 10, he was able to enjoy successful careers as a writer and publisher (``Poor Richard's Almanac''), a scientist (the lightning rod) and freelance tinkerer and philanthropist (he conceived improvements in the postal system and opened Philadelphia's first hospital and library).
As Stuart Kauffman, fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, points out in At Home in the Universe, "Biologists see organisms as tinkered-together contraptions, and evolution as a tinkerer.
It will appeal to the young person and the tinkerer - anyone who's interested in robotics,'' he said.
He was a craftsman and tinkerer who enjoyed working on projects of all sorts.
Duncan differs from the average tinkerer in that he has a 30-employee company to make his ideas into reality.
Whether dad's a full-blown grease monkey, occasional tinkerer or "wanna be" weekend mechanic, we have an automotive gift idea that's sure to please.
He was a craftsman and tinkerer and enjoyed working on projects of all sorts.
I'm a tinkerer by heart and I thought it might work.