Definition of incentive in English:



  • 1A thing that motivates or encourages someone to do something.

    ‘give farmers an incentive to improve their land’
    • ‘Where's the incentive to improve things when everything is handed to them on a platter?’
    • ‘The bill seeks to offer incentives for farmers to open their land for hunting.’
    • ‘Carnival organisers laid on extra incentives to make the event more attractive to entrants this time around.’
    • ‘Potential clients are lured into opening accounts with all sorts of gimmicks as incentives.’
    • ‘Customers finally have an incentive to actually test Linux and open source software.’
    • ‘If bad deeds are encouraged and condoned, this merely provides an incentive for them to multiply.’
    • ‘Without hunting, there would be less incentive for farmers to conserve wildlife habitat.’
    • ‘As well as the natural health benefits, the patient also gets motivation and incentives for better health.’
    • ‘Since there really is no good reason for you buy this stuff I'm providing an incentive to do so.’
    • ‘This eliminates incentives for the political abuse of the courts and it makes the laws enforceable.’
    • ‘He said that this is an added incentive for farmers to make use of the facility.’
    • ‘What we would like to hear next is an improvement in incentives for teachers.’
    • ‘Childcare grants are among a range of incentives geared at encouraging more parents to run for district council seats.’
    • ‘One problem is lack of incentive for employers - especially small employers - to take on apprentices.’
    • ‘Secondly, serious incentives need to be in place to encourage donations not only of money but also of property.’
    • ‘One way to encourage children is to give them an incentive or reward if they do well in their exams.’
    • ‘Extra incentives will also be offered to childcare providers to encourage them to set up in areas of high need.’
    • ‘Success and failure are both the necessary incentives to learn and to grow.’
    • ‘York residents are set to be offered incentives to encourage them to recycle more of their household waste.’
    • ‘Perhaps they need the incentive of seeing the team improve and develop in other areas to sustain their effort.’
    inducement, motivation, motive, reason, stimulus, stimulant, spur, impetus, encouragement, impulse
    incitement, goad, provocation
    attraction, lure, bait
    carrot, sweetener, come-on
    premium, douceur
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A payment or concession to stimulate greater output or investment.
      ‘tax incentives for investing in depressed areas’
      • ‘The $700,000 incentive package comprises tax refund credits and a grant payment program.’
      • ‘He said Government had designed very good investment incentives for people interested in investing in Zambia.’
      • ‘In addition to federal tax credits, California offered an additional state tax incentive for wind energy production.’
      • ‘The contractor shared 40 percent of a $50 million incentive bonus with employees.’
      • ‘The Pentagon says the incentive package is worth $168 million over three years.’
      • ‘"We predict that there will be a big increase in cash incentives.’
      • ‘But with a new round of sales incentives in place, car buying is rebounding.’
      • ‘Five years ago, they both opened special savings incentive accounts (SSIAs).’
      • ‘More than 70 higher education institutions have offered scholarship or cash incentives.’
      • ‘If Britain was to accede to membership, these countries had a strong economic incentive to follow suit.’
      • ‘Employers have some very real market-based incentives to accommodate motherhood.’
      • ‘To improve its on-time arrival rates, further financial incentives were provided monthly.’
      • ‘He said tax incentives to encourage people to have more children was one of the options which should be examined.’
      • ‘At Dickerson Employee Benefits, financial incentives are provided for those managers and employees who meet and exceed performance goals.’
      • ‘New tax incentives encourage the purchase of modern road vehicles and the repair of old ones.’
      • ‘The incentive payment falls to $3 million if the company is sold next year.’
      • ‘The government also gave generous tax incentives for investment.’
      • ‘The parties have averted their gaze from the cost of the government's special savings incentive scheme.’
      • ‘The two-bedroom apartment has a price tag of £215,000 and there are Section 23 incentives for investors.’
      • ‘She said the cash incentive scheme had already had an effect on pupils' attendance.’


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