Definition of tamper in US English:



tamper with
  • 1no object Interfere with (something) in order to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations.

    ‘someone tampered with the brakes on my car’
    • ‘You can even watch a little video of him deleting the audit file, which keeps a record of any tampering or alterations to the system.’
    • ‘The train halted again (near Cabin A) after the brake vacuum pipe was tampered with.’
    • ‘The simple fact is that the trial was deeply flawed because it was not illegal in Norway to tamper with copy protection systems.’
    • ‘Still, it's not recommended that you play with the door handle at any time as unauthorized tampering with aircraft equipment may result in arrest…’
    • ‘Hole-in-the-wall users in the area should be wary after a town centre cash machine was tampered with.’
    • ‘Police have called for residents to be extra vigilant after a cashpoint machine was tampered with in the town centre.’
    • ‘For example, her car brakes were tampered with and she suspects him.’
    • ‘The independent control system would allow the third party to review all data against the live system and would feature an alarm for any tampering or alteration of data.’
    • ‘Even triggers that may be adjusted arrive from the factory with the adjustments sealed and accompanied by dire warnings about unauthorized tampering.’
    • ‘Our priorities are the prompt and safe return of the crew, and the return of the aircraft without further damage or tampering with.’
    • ‘A Scottish parliament security inquiry was launched last week amid claims that his letter to her was leaked after her computer was tampered with.’
    • ‘To prevent tampering and alteration, the certificate is encrypted.’
    • ‘One resident, who wished to remain unnamed, said the lifts had been damaged, the careline tampered with, doorbells vandalised and windows broken.’
    • ‘The basin pipes were tampered with and the vandals squirted cleaning fluid all over the brand new carpets.’
    • ‘Assigned storage spaces shall be located where cylinders will not be knocked over or damaged by passing or falling objects, or be subject to tampering by unauthorized persons.’
    • ‘The lifting contractor should have qualified personnel inspect all reusable hardware upon receipt for any signs of shipping damage, tampering, or intentional alteration.’
    • ‘They might gain access to our systems and tamper with data through computer network attacks or exploit it for hostile purposes.’
    • ‘On Oct. 1, the FBI, along with private security experts, took the unusual step of publicizing the top 20 ways that hackers tamper with computer systems.’
    • ‘Other items of property have been damaged or tampered with over the past number of months.’
    • ‘Vials should be stored in a safe area where tampering or possible damage cannot occur.’
  • 2no object Exert a secret or corrupt influence upon (someone).

    • ‘Increased power has been placed at the hands of customs officers whose judgment and daily conduct can be and are tampered with by outside influences, such as a bad day or an argument before work.’
    • ‘I hereby find him not guilty on the charges of witness tampering, jury manipulation, and contempt of court.’
    • ‘Three Union County Jail officers were convicted on multiple criminal charges, including official misconduct and witness tampering.’
    • ‘I wouldn't be surprised if we see a federal obstruction of justice and witness tampering or evidence tampering, I should say, charges brought against him shortly.’
    • ‘In 2001, he was convicted on federal charges of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, witness tampering, and mail fraud.’


  • A person or thing that tamps something down, especially a machine or tool for tamping down earth or ballast.

    • ‘Then use a tamper (you may want to rent this rarely used hand tool) to compact the stones.’
    • ‘Shaped of such heavy metal the tamper would weigh about a ton.’
    • ‘Compact the material as best as you can with a tamper (a rental item) or the end of a heavy board, adding more material until the hole is slightly overfilled.’
    • ‘With just a little bit of simple joinery one could make a Shaker-style wooden seed box to replace the modern plastic version, and a soil tamper to firm the compost.’
    • ‘Its hydraulic PTO can manage breakers, tampers, drills, and saws.’
    • ‘Tamp the patch with a tamper or a garden roller filled about one-third full with water, or simply walk on it.’
    • ‘Pipe and cigar smoking each have their own paraphernalia - pipe cases, pipe holders, pouches and tampers, used to mash down the burning tobacco in the bowl of the pipe.’
    • ‘We also buy regular rubber gloves for the guys working in the field and vibration gloves for the jackhammers and tampers.’
    • ‘Mix cement, aggregate, and coloring by hand and fill mold to match specifications of product being finished, using trowel, tamper, and scraper.’
    • ‘Use a tamper to compact the concrete around the form during pouring.’
    • ‘Shortly before a scheduled 2:30 p.m. lunch break, the operator asked the laborer and a co-worker to take a tamper in a pickup truck to a place near the roadway.’
    • ‘Using a tamper, he levels and compresses the grinds, a technique absolutely necessary for uniform extraction.’
    • ‘I notice the tamper sitting in the down refuge siding near the works depot.’
    • ‘To build with this technique, moistened soil is placed into a bag set in place on the wall, the bag is lowered into place, then compressed using a hand tamper.’


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘busy oneself to a particular end, machinate’): alteration of the verb temper.