So Merriam-Webster Online recognizes incentivize as a word. BFD. That doesn’t make it right. Why don’t we just rid ourselves of all verbs, and take all the nouns and add “ize” – or some other suitable postscript – to them to create all the verbs we need?
There’s a long tradition of forming verbs from nouns, so why am I so upset by incentivize? Maybe it just sounds too contrived, too stupid. As an economist, incentive is part of the discipline’s jargon, so it has special meaning to me. I also believe that language is not fixed, but must change with the times. Yet, egregious verbization of nouns just irks me.