Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: in|cen¦tive
Pronunciation: /ɪnˈsɛntɪv

Definition of incentive in English:


1A thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something: give farmers an incentive to improve their land
More example sentences
  • Childcare grants are among a range of incentives geared at encouraging more parents to run for district council seats.
  • York residents are set to be offered incentives to encourage them to recycle more of their household waste.
  • As well as the natural health benefits, the patient also gets motivation and incentives for better health.
incitement, goad, provocation;
attraction, lure, bait
rare premium, douceur
1.1A payment or concession to stimulate greater output or investment: tax incentives for investing in depressed areas
More example sentences
  • The government also gave generous tax incentives for investment.
  • In addition to federal tax credits, California offered an additional state tax incentive for wind energy production.
  • To improve its on-time arrival rates, further financial incentives were provided monthly.


late Middle English: from Latin incentivum 'something that sets the tune or incites', from incantare 'to chant or charm'.

Definition of incentive in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day peart
Pronunciation: pɪət
lively; cheerful