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what makes one tick

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What makes one function characteristically, what motivates one, as in We've never figured out what makes these chess players tick. This expression alludes to tick in the sense of “function as an operating mechanism, such as a clock.” [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]

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QUIZ YOURSELF ON OPPOSITES OF RED BEFORE YOU TURN SCARLET
We have a challenge that will make you blush: do you know the many words and ways to describe the opposite of red?
Question 1 of 7
Which of the following colors is used to symbolize AIR?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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