tinker with (something)

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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 ?
Disney obviously had no ambition of tinkering with formula here.
For humankind will indeed have to take ethical responsibility for tinkering with the genetic code that may allow the human species to re-create itself, extend the frontiers of longevity, and cure innumerable diseases.
manufacturers, Snow seems to believe that tinkering with the renminbi will save American jobs.
So tinkering with the renminbi is like asking a freight train rolling down the tracks to slow down from 60 miles per hour to 55.
When he isn't out working up a sweat, he likes to watch sports, including auto racing -- and confesses to enjoy tinkering with cars.
The specter of nuclear annihilation haunted humanity during the worst days of the Cold War when it became clear that our special genius for tinkering with nature might prove our final undoing.
Once again our genius for tinkering with nature is to blame.
Then, when a sound board and speakers are added so the audio generated by CD-ROM disks can be heard clearly, freezing occurs so frequently the office techie is tinkering with the computer a few times a week but making little progress.
This section first discusses the options for tinkering with the status quo or engaging in following law reform, and then focuses on the leading option.