Definition of incentive noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    incentive

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//ɪnˈsentɪv//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈsentɪv//
     
    Economy
     
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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] incentive (for/to somebody/something) (to do something) something that encourages you to do something There is no incentive for people to save fuel. There is an added incentive for you to buy from our catalogue—a free gift with every purchase. opposite disincentive See related entries: Economy
  2. 2a payment or concession (= a reduction in the amount of money that has to be paid) that encourages somebody to do something tax incentives to encourage savings See related entries: Economy
  3. Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin incentivum ‘something that sets the tune or incites’, from incantare ‘to chant or charm’.Extra examples He argues that the free supply of skilled labour will act as an incentive for employees to be more diligent. High taxation rates have undermined work incentives. It was thought that this would act as an incentive for couples to adopt older children. Low levels of profitability mean there is a lack of incentive to undertake new investment. She had the added incentive of being within reach of the world record. The absence of penalties for anti-competitive behaviour means that firms have every incentive to engage in price-fixing. The company operates a share incentive scheme for its workers. The government has created tax incentives to encourage investment. The most direct financial incentive to prevent rubbish is to charge people by the amount of rubbish they put out. There was little incentive to conduct research. US companies faced a clear incentive to downsize. an incentive system based on supervisors’ evaluations an incentive to investment companies that receive government incentives direct financial incentives to have smaller families employee incentives such as bonuses and commission The government decided to offer incentives to foreign investors. The scheme gives farmers cash incentives to help manage the countryside. There are no incentives for people to save fuel. There is little incentive for firms to increase the skills of their workers. This gives pupils a strong incentive to read in English. This gives them a direct financial incentive to reduce pollution.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: incentive