carrot-and-stick

adjective
car·​rot-and-stick | \ˌker-ət-ᵊn-ˈstik, ˌka-rət-\

Definition of carrot-and-stick 

: characterized by the use of both reward and punishment to induce cooperation carrot-and-stick foreign policy the carrot-and-stick style of sales management

First Known Use of carrot-and-stick

1876, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for carrot-and-stick

from the traditional alternatives of driving a donkey on by either holding out a carrot or whipping it with a stick

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about carrot-and-stick

Share carrot-and-stick

Statistics for carrot-and-stick

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for carrot-and-stick

The first known use of carrot-and-stick was in 1876

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on carrot-and-stick

See words that rhyme with carrot-and-stick

Comments on carrot-and-stick

What made you want to look up carrot-and-stick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a private place of worship

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!