tinker with

tinker with (something)

1. To make unprofessional or experimental attempts at repairing or improving something. I've been tinkering with the washing machine all afternoon, but nothing I do seems to fix it. Bud likes to tinker with old car engines and see if he can make them run better than they used to.
2. To test or use something in order to learn more about it. I'm tinkering with a different platform for my blog, and I can't decide if I like it or not.
See also: tinker

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 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
References in periodicals archive ?
Artificial intelligence (AI) needs people who tinker with data, who tinker with rules, who tinker with measurements, and who can do things others are not comfortable doing.
Mechanics tinker with automobiles to tweak a problem.
When the ECHO presented Mr Tinker with a copy of the document, he said "that has got nothing to do with me".
I'm not afraid to get under the hood or under the car and tinker with it.
I would tinker with my toys and try to make them go faster; I guess that just built up to cars.
I think eventually it will get to something where they don't have to tinker with it anymore and, to me, that's a playoff system and that's not going to happen.