Definition of incentive in English:


Syllabification: in·cen·tive
Pronunciation: /inˈsentiv


  • 1A thing that motivates or encourages one to do something: there is no incentive for customers to conserve water
    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.
    inducement, motivation, motive, reason, stimulus, stimulant, spur, impetus, encouragement, impulse; incitement, goad, provocation; attraction, lure, bait
    informal carrot, sweetener, come-on
  • 1.1A payment or concession to stimulate greater output or investment: tax incentives for investing in depressed areas [as modifier]: incentive payments
    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'.

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