"She loves to ... with her computer all day."

I found to tinker with and to fiddle with" but they seem to have a rather negative meaning.

I want to express that the person occupies herself with something that she has a passion for but in an informal or unprofessional way. If there is no other word, could I use tinker and/or fiddle without a native speaker having a negative impression?

Update: Playing in the sense of physically playing with the internals of a machine etc.

  • "play" possibly remain your best option; there are other words that are probably overly formal - experiment, engage, interact, explore, practise, immerse (herself in).
    – Cargill
    Dec 6, 2015 at 1:57
  • @Nothingatall In that case, tinker would actually fit the context best. If you add your comment as an answer, I'll accept it.
    – Suzana
    Dec 6, 2015 at 12:03
  • 1
    @Suzana_K- I think Nothing at all meant that "tinkering with her computer* implies opening the box, checking the wiring, making sure the RAM chips are seated correctly in the motherboard, checking the screws supporting the graphics card, and so forth; in other words, physically tinkering. "Play" would be the correct word for what I think you mean. Dec 6, 2015 at 21:54
  • No, I really understood the meaning well and "physically tinkering" was exactly what I wanted to express. Sorry if my question was unclear.
    – Suzana
    Dec 7, 2015 at 17:02

2 Answers 2


If you said tinker, it would mean she was opening the box, checking the things to see how they work, perhaps repairing them. It's not a particularly negative word.


You might try an action word such as fly, dream, sail, explore, escape, enchant, tickle, dazzle, or adventure.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.