what makes tick


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what makes someone tick

Fig. something that motivates someone; something that makes someone behave in a certain way. (Fig. on what makes something tick.) William is sort of strange. I don't know what makes him tick. When you get to know people, you find out what makes them tick.
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what makes something tick

Fig. the sense or mechanism that makes something run or function. (With reference to the ticking of a clock representing the functioning of the clock.) I don't know what makes it tick. I took apart the radio to find out what made it tick.
See also: make, tick

what makes somebody tick

the reasons why someone behaves the way they do The admiral was interested in people, what made them tick and what influenced their behavior.
See also: make, tick

what makes somebody tick

if you know what makes someone tick, you understand the reasons for their behaviour and personality A good salesperson knows what makes a customer tick.
See also: make, tick