WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
in•cen•tive /ɪnˈsɛntɪv/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. something that arouses someone to action: [uncountable]very little incentive to work.[countable]gave incentives to the farmers.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
in•cen•tive  (in sentiv),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. something that incites or tends to incite to action or greater effort, as a reward offered for increased productivity.

adj. 
  1. inciting, as to action;
    stimulating;
    provocative.
in•centive•ly, adv. 
  • Late Latin incentīvus provocative, Latin: setting the tune, equivalent. to incent(us) ( past participle of incinere to play (an instrument, tunes); in- in-2 + -cinere, combining form of canere to sing) + -īvus -ive
  • late Middle English 1400–50
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged stimulus, spur, incitement, impulse, encouragement;
      goad, prod. See  motive. 


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

incentive /ɪnˈsɛntɪv/ n
  1. a motivating influence; stimulus
  2. an additional payment made to employees as a means of increasing production
  3. (as modifier): an incentive scheme
adj
  1. serving to incite to action
Etymology: 15th Century: from Late Latin incentīvus (adj), from Latin: striking up, setting the tune, from incinere to sing, from in-² + canere to sing



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