tinker’s damn

Not worth a tinker’s damn is a phrase that is often uttered, although most people who say it nowadays have no idea what a tinker is. There is also considerable confusion over the word damn in this phrase, which is often misspelled dam.

A tinker was an itinerant tradesman who mended pots and pans. The variant tinkler, common in Scotland, the north of England, and Ireland, appears as an English word in a Latin manuscript, Carta Willelmi Regis, from c.1175.

Que iacet inter terram serlon incisoris et terram Jacobi tinkler.
(Which lies between the land of Serlo the engraver and the land of James the tinkler.)

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