Synonym Chooser

How does the noun incentive contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of incentive are goad, impulse, inducement, motive, and spur. While all these words mean "a stimulus to action," incentive applies to an external influence (such as an expected reward) inciting to action.

a bonus was offered as an incentive

When would goad be a good substitute for incentive?

The synonyms goad and incentive are sometimes interchangeable, but goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire.

thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency

When could impulse be used to replace incentive?

While in some cases nearly identical to incentive, impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution.

buying on impulse

When can inducement be used instead of incentive?

The meanings of inducement and incentive largely overlap; however, inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another.

offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe

When might motive be a better fit than incentive?

The words motive and incentive can be used in similar contexts, but motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act.

a motive for the crime

When is it sensible to use spur instead of incentive?

While the synonyms spur and incentive are close in meaning, spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor.

fear was a spur to action

Thesaurus Entries Near incentive

Cite this Entry

“Incentive.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

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