noun in·cen·tive \in-ˈsen-tiv\

: something that encourages a person to do something or to work harder

Full Definition of INCENTIVE

:  something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action
incentive adjective

Examples of INCENTIVE

  1. The rising cost of electricity provides a strong incentive to conserve energy.
  2. The government offers special tax incentives for entrepreneurs.
  3. The company is offering a special low price as an added incentive for new customers.


Middle English, from Late Latin incentivum, from neuter of incentivus stimulating, from Latin, setting the tune, from incentus, past participle of incinere to play (a tune), from in- + canere to sing — more at chant
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of INCENTIVE

motive, impulse, incentive, inducement, spur, goad mean a stimulus to action. motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act <a motive for the crime>. impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution <buying on impulse>. incentive applies to an external influence (as an expected reward) inciting to action <a bonus was offered as an incentive>. inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another <offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe>. spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor <fear was a spur to action>. goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire <thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency>.
INCENTIVE Defined for Kids


noun in·cen·tive \in-ˈsen-tiv\

Definition of INCENTIVE for Kids

:  something that makes a person try or work hard or harder <Longer recess was an incentive to finish our work.>


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