Definition of tick over in US English:

tick over

phrasal verb

  • 1(of an engine) idle.

    • ‘The only way I can get it to tick over is if I hold the accelerator lever back.’
    • ‘I fired up the two big engines, they were ticking over beautifully at approximately 1000 rpm.’
    • ‘The engine will not tick over at less than 20000 revs.’
    • ‘The engine will start and sounds fine but still won't tick over on its own and cuts if you rev it around 3000 rpm on the move.’
    • ‘With the engine still ticking over, the lady was genuinely worried for her safety.’
    1. 1.1 Work or function at a basic or minimum level.
      ‘they are keeping things ticking over until their father returns’
      • ‘To date the US consumer has kept the economy ticking over while the manufacturing sector went into recession.’
      • ‘I've barely got enough blog in me to keep this site ticking over.’
      • ‘The Catholic Church has apologised for the inconvenience, but reminds us that such work is necessary to keep the universe ticking over smoothly.’
      • ‘I think there was more pressure on me at the time because I came in to keep things ticking over for Celtic.’
      • ‘They keep all the bits in working order, not just ticking over in a repetitious way.’
      • ‘There's also a problem in that my normal mode of thinking of stuff to write about is mostly because my mind sort of ticks over if I'm not thinking of anything particularly fiercely.’
      • ‘This has helped keep the economy ticking over until growth picks up.’
      • ‘There has been no change of any significance in the pattern of the trade on the continent over the past week with most markets remaining similar to previous weeks and the trade just ticking over.’
      • ‘A positive opening in the US helped keep the Footsie ticking over while traders digested a gloomy third-quarter report from Colt Telecom.’
      • ‘He had a little break after Newbury, but we've kept him ticking over since then.’
      • ‘It comes, of course, at a time when North Korea is struggling to get fuel to keep its economy ticking over.’
      • ‘So Robinson needs $US1.2 million a year to keep things ticking over.’