from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Something, such as the fear of punishment or the expectation of reward, that induces action or motivates effort.
- adj. Serving to induce or motivate: an incentive bonus for high productivity.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Something that motivates, rouses, or encourages.
- n. A bonus or reward, often monetary, to work harder.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Inciting; encouraging or moving; rousing to action; stimulative.
- adj. Serving to kindle or set on fire.
- n. That which moves or influences the mind, or operates on the passions; that which incites, or has a tendency to incite, to determination or action; that which prompts to good or ill; motive; spur.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Inciting; encouraging.
- Setting fire; igniting; firing; incendiary.
- n. That which moves the mind or stirs the passions; that which incites or tends to incite to action; motive; spur: as, pride is a powerful incentive.
- n. Synonyms Impulse, etc. (see motive), stimulus, incitement, encouragement, goad.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a positive motivational influence
- n. an additional payment (or other remuneration) to employees as a means of increasing output
Middle English, from Late Latin incentīvum, from neuter of incentīvus, inciting, from Latin, setting the tune, from incentus, past participle of incinere, to sound : in-, intensive pref.; see in-2 + canere, to sing; see kan- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin incentivus ("that strikes up or sets the tune"), from incinere ("to strike up"), from in ("in, on") + canere ("to sing"). The formation appears to have been influenced by incendere ' to set on fire'. (Wiktionary)