make tick

what makes (one) tick

The things that motivate one or make one behave in a certain way. I'd love to sit you down for an interview so I can find out what makes you tick. Janet is a very private person, so it's hard to know what makes her tick.
See also: make, tick, what
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

make someone or something tick

Fig. to cause someone or something to run or function. (Usually with what. Tick refers to a watch or clock.) I don't know what makes it tick. What makes John tick? I just don't understand him. I took apart the radio to find out what made it tick.
See also: make, tick
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
To help you stay ahead of these pests, here are the top 10 natural ways to make tick season easier to take.
The higher tick intensity is also justifiable with progressing rainy season that make ticks' propagation suitable because of warm and humid environment (Lima et al., 2000).