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what makes someone tick

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what makes someone tick

noun phrase

Someone's motives, inner psychology, system of principles, etc: It's the gambling instinct that makes me tick/ What Makes Sammy Run?

[1947+; fr the analogy of human motivation with the mechanism of a clock]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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