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Back-formation from incentive. Clipping of incentivize


  • IPA(key): /ɪnˈsɛnt/
  • Rhymes: -ɛnt
  • Hyphenation: in‧cent


incent (third-person singular simple present incents, present participle incenting, simple past and past participle incented)

  1. (transitive, US) To provide an incentive to (a person or organization).
    We need to incent people to innovate more.
    • 2007 February 24, Damon Darlin, “At Intuit, What Comes After Taxes?”, in New York Times[1]:
      We try to incent people to do it earlier, which levels the load.
    • 2010 June 24, Al Gore and David Blood, “Toward Sustainable Capitalism”, in Wall Street Journal:
      incent investors to manage assets with a long-term perspective
  2. (transitive, US) To provide an incentive for (something).
    We need to incent more innovation.
    • 2009 January 13, Arne Duncan, “Duncan Lays Out Positions in Confirmation Hearing”, in WBEZ Chicago Public Radio:
      DUNCAN: The more we can reward excellence, the more we can incent excellence, the more we can get our best teachers to work in those hard to staff schools

Usage notes[edit]

  • Less common than incentivize at COCA.
  • Used relatively more than incentivize to refer to providing an incentive for an individual action.

Related terms[edit]