motivation, incitement, stimulus, spur; influence, occasion, ground, cause. Motive, incentive, inducement
apply to whatever moves one to action. Motive
is, literally, something that moves a person; an inducement
something that leads a person on; an incentive
something that inspires a person. Motive
is applied mainly to an inner urge that moves or prompts a person to action, though it may also apply to a contemplated result, the desire for which moves the person: His motive was a wish to be helpful. Inducement
is never applied to an inner urge, and seldom to a goal: The pleasure of wielding authority may be an inducement to get ahead.
It is used mainly of opportunities offered by the acceptance of certain conditions, whether these are offered by a second person or by the factors of the situation: The salary offered me was a great inducement. Incentive
was once used of anything inspiring or stimulating the emotions or imagination: incentives to piety;
it has retained of this its emotional connotations, but (rather like inducement
) is today applied only to something offered as a reward, and offered particularly to stimulate competitive activity: to create incentives for higher achievement. 2.