take a licking and keep on ticking

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Derived from the advertising slogan for Timex wrist-watches.


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take a licking and keep on ticking

  1. (idiomatic) To be tough; to have endurance; to have the capacity to absorb stress or damage, but still be able to function.
    • 2008, George R. R. Martin et al., Inside Straight, page 124:
      How am I supposed to knock these other guys off. My wild card is nothing but defensive. I take a licking and keep on ticking. Big whoop.
    • 2006, Anthony Mancuso, LLC Or Corporation?: How to Choose the Right Form for Your Business, page 47:
      Insurance allows your business to take a licking and keep on ticking.
    • 1997, Ira Livingston, Arrow of Chaos: Romanticism and Postmodernity, section 2.3:
      The persistence-through-change of Romantic ideologemes — the way they've taken a licking and kept on ticking — is explicable by their extension and saturation — their participation — in ongoing formations of capitalism and disciplinarity.
    • 1994, Pinckney Benedict, Dogs of God, page 204:
      "That," the first said, "was one hardy son of a bitch. Took a licking but went on ticking. I heard he made it all the way down off the mountain before he snuffed it."
    • 1986, David Morrell, The Fraternity of the Stone, page 177:
      But the car amazed him. It kept going. And that too struck him as funny. Takes a licking, keeps on ticking.