Dictionary.com

what makes one tick

Save This Word!

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]

QUIZZES

DO A DOUBLE TAKE ON THIS QUIZ ON CONTRONYMS

Look both ways before you take this quiz on contronyms, or words that can have opposite meanings.
Question 1 of 7
Choose the sentence that uses "rent" correctly.

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Example sentences from the Web for what makes one tick

FEEDBACK