Idioms

    what makes one tick, the motive or explanation of one's behavior: The biographer failed to show what made Herbert Hoover tick.

Origin of tick

1
1400–50; late Middle English tek little touch; akin to Dutch tik a touch, pat, Norwegian tikka to touch or shove slightly. See tickle
Can be confusedtic tick
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for what makes one tick (1 of 4)

tick

1
/ (tɪk) /

noun

a recurrent metallic tapping or clicking sound, such as that made by a clock or watch
British informal a moment or instant
a mark (✓) or dash used to check off or indicate the correctness of something
commerce the smallest increment of a price fluctuation in a commodity exchange. Tick size is usually 0.01% of the nominal value of the trading unit

verb

Word Origin for tick

C13: from Low German tikk touch; related to Old High German zekōn to pluck, Norwegian tikke to touch

British Dictionary definitions for what makes one tick (2 of 4)

tick

2
/ (tɪk) /

noun

any of various small parasitic arachnids of the families Ixodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks), typically living on the skin of warm-blooded animals and feeding on the blood and tissues of their hosts: order Acarina (mites and ticks)See also sheep tick (def. 1) Related adjective: acaroid
any of certain other arachnids of the order Acarina
any of certain insects of the dipterous family Hippoboscidae that are ectoparasitic on horses, cattle, sheep, etc, esp the sheep ked

Word Origin for tick

Old English ticca; related to Middle High German zeche tick, Middle Irish dega stag beetle

British Dictionary definitions for what makes one tick (3 of 4)

tick

3
/ (tɪk) /

noun

British informal account or credit (esp in the phrase on tick)

Word Origin for tick

C17: shortened from ticket

British Dictionary definitions for what makes one tick (4 of 4)

tick

4
/ (tɪk) /

noun

the strong covering of a pillow, mattress, etc
informal short for ticking

Word Origin for tick

C15: probably from Middle Dutch tīke; related to Old High German ziecha pillow cover, Latin tēca case, Greek thēkē
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medicine definitions for what makes one tick

tick

[ tĭk ]

n.

Any of numerous small bloodsucking parasitic arachnids of the families Ixodidae and Argasidae, many of which transmit febrile diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
Any of various usually wingless, louselike insects of the family Hippobosciddae that are parasitic on sheep, goats, and other animals.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for what makes one tick

tick

[ tĭk ]

Any of numerous small, parasitic arachnids of the suborder Ixodida that feed on the blood of animals. Like their close relatives the mites and unlike spiders, ticks have no division between cephalothorax and abdomen. Ticks differ from mites by being generally larger and having a sensory pit at the end of their first pair of legs. Many ticks transmit febrile diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with what makes one tick (1 of 2)

what makes one tick


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]

Idioms and Phrases with what makes one tick (2 of 2)

tick


In addition to the idiom beginning with tick

  • tickled pink
  • tickle one's fancy
  • tickle the ivories
  • tick off

also see:

  • clock is ticking
  • tight as a tick
  • what makes one tick
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.