tinker

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Tinker to Evers to Chance

A legendary 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 about (someone or something)

rude slang To not care about, or have any interest in, someone or something. Fred does not give a tinker's damn about what anyone else thinks of him.
See also: damn, give, not

not give a tinker's cuss

rude slang To not care about, or have any interest in, someone or something. Fred does not give a tinker's cuss about what anyone else thinks of him.
See also: cuss, give, not

not worth a tinker's damn

To be completely worthless or useless; to have little or no value. I was so excited when my grandfather said he'd give me his car, but this old clunker isn't worth a tinker's damn. Over the years working here, I've come to realize that the boss's word isn't worth a tinker's damn.
See also: damn, not, worth

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.

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

not give a tinker's damn

or

not give a tinker's cuss

INFORMAL, OLD-FASHIONED
If you say that you don't give a tinker's damn or don't give a tinker's cuss about something or someone, you mean that you do not care about them at all. Most of these people couldn't give a tinker's damn about the students. For 50 weeks of the year, the great British public couldn't give a tinker's cuss about tennis. Note: You can also say that someone or something is not worth a tinker's damn when you think they are of no value. The real truth is you haven't been worth a tinker's damn all week.
See also: damn, give, not

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 classic literature ?
Now by the pewter platter of Saint Dunstan," cried the Tinker, "I have a good part of a mind to baste thy hide for thine ill jest.
Loud laughed Robin and cried, "Now well taken, Tinker, well taken
Now by my faith," said the Tinker, "thou art a right good fellow in spite of thy scurvy jests.
Now I love thee as my brother, my bully blade," said the Tinker, "else I would not tell thee my news; for sly am I, man, and I have in hand a grave undertaking that doth call for all my wits, for I come to seek a bold outlaw that men, hereabouts, call Robin Hood.
But, Tinker, men say that he is but a sad, sly thief.
Nay," quoth the Tinker, "thou art but a green youth.
That may be," said the Tinker right sturdily, "but I am more deft than he, for did I not overcome Simon of Ely in a fair bout in the ring at Hertford Town?
That will I not do, even to mine own brother," answered the Tinker.
What do you mean,' said the tinker, 'by wearing my brother's silk handkerchief
Before I could obey, however, the tinker seized the handkerchief out of my hand with a roughness that threw me away like a feather, and putting it loosely round his own neck, turned upon the woman with an oath, and knocked her down.
Yes; my dear, Tinker is quite right: I've lost and won more lawsuits than any man in England.
You'll sleep with Tinker to-night," he said; "it's a big bed, and there's room for two.
But old Tinker was not to be pumped by this little cross-questioner; and signifying to her that bed was a place for sleeping, not conversation, set up in her corner of the bed such a snore as only the nose of innocence can produce.
At four o'clock, on such a roseate summer's morning as even made Great Gaunt Street look cheerful, the faithful Tinker, having wakened her bedfellow, and bid her prepare for departure, unbarred and unbolted the great hall door (the clanging and clapping whereof startled the sleeping echoes in the street), and taking her way into Oxford Street, summoned a coach from a stand there.
Giles had captured a robber; and the tinker busied himself in endeavouring to restore Oliver, lest he should die before he could be hanged.