what makes him tick?

jamsterdam

New Member
Bulgaria
Hi,

Could anyone help me understand the meaning of this question: "What makes him tick?" Is it transformable into "What makes him behave this way?"

Thank you, guys!
 
  • jamsterdam

    New Member
    Bulgaria
    Thank you so much, bibliolept! Motivation or drive is exactly the meaning I though was correct for the phrase but my dictionaries didn't list this one.

    Thank you. ;)
     

    Cristina Allende

    Senior Member
    US, English
    I think this phrase can also be used instead of saying: "What does he like (to do)?" Like if you were getting a birthday present for someone, but you had no idea what he would want, and you were asking someone who knew him better, you would say, "What makes him tick?"
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The image is drawn from an old-fashioned pocket watch or clock. What made a clock "tick" was the machinery inside, driven by a spring. To ask such a question about a person is to ask "what is inside of him emotionally, spirituallly, or psychologically, motivating his actions?"
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    People often say I don't know what makes him tick, to mean that they don't understand a person, what gives them pleasure, what are the mainsprings of their being, to labour the image. It's a particular way of saying you don't know how to deal with someone.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    People often say I don't know what makes him tick, to mean that they don't understand a person, what gives them pleasure, what are the mainsprings of their being, to labour the image. It's a particular way of saying you don't know how to deal with someone.
    Well, if anyone ought be allowed to belabor this image, it would be you, Thomas Tompion.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Could anyone help me understand the meaning of this question: "What makes him tick?" Is it transformable into "What makes him behave this way?"



    --What makes him tick
    = What turns him on (not sexually)
    = What's his thing
    = What blows him away
    = What makes him kick

    @ bibliolept & TT (Thomas Tompion):

    Gentlemen, I confess I am the silly one on EO, yet I understand your joke (maybe not a joke...) perfectly :cool: (bring me a more difficult one next time, will you? :rolleyes: :D)
     
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