Carrot and stick


Carrot and stick

Carrot and stick (also spelled "carrot-and-stick") [American Heritage Dictionary, [http://www.bartleby.com/61/89/C0128900.html Entry for "carrot-and-stick"] ] is an idiom that refers to a policy of offering a reward for making progress towards benchmarks or goals but not necessarily ever actually delivering. The original metaphor referred to a boy sitting on a cart being pulled by a donkey. The boy held a long stick to which a carrot had been tied, and he dangled the carrot in front of the donkey but just out of its reach. As the donkey moved forward to get the carrot, it pulled the cart—and the boy—so that the carrot always remained just out of reach as the cart moved forward.

The earliest citation of this expression recorded by the "Supplement" to the "Oxford English Dictionary" is to The Economist magazine in the December 11, 1948, issue. The "Supplement" also depicts a person trying to entice a donkey to move by dangling a carrot in front of it, which represents the original meaning of the phrase.

The term is misused currently to refer to the act of rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior. The carrot represents the edible reward, while the stick refers to a punishing switch. This is actually a combination of 2 theories of diplomacy, Carrot and Stick and Big Stick Diplomacy.

References

External links

* Paul Brians, Department of English, Washington State University [http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/carrot.html “Carrot on a stick” vs. “the carrot or the stick.”]
* Rik & Drew, Carrot on Stick, Somewhere in the United Kingdom [http://www.carrotonstick.com “Carrots. Game reviews. More Carrots. Comics. Carrot on Stick.”]
* NYT letter to the editor [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9503E0D91639F930A35750C0A965948260 "CARROT AND THE STICK THAT INFLICTS NO HARM"]


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  • carrot and stick — Incentive and punishment, as alternative methods of persuasion • • • Main Entry: ↑carrot carrot and stick see under ↑carrot • • • Main Entry: ↑stick * * * carrot and stick phrase a mixture of promises and threats to persuade someone to do… …   Useful english dictionary

  • carrot and stick — If someone offers a carrot and stick, they offer an incentive to do something combined with the threat of punishment …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • carrot and stick —    If someone offers a carrot and stick, they offer an incentive to do something combined with the threat of punishment.   (Dorking School Dictionary)    ***    If you use a carrot and stick approach, you use the promise of reward and the threat… …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • carrot and stick — ADJ: ADJ n If an organization has a carrot and stick approach or policy, they offer people things in order to persuade them to do something and punish them if they refuse to do it. Congress also wants to use a carrot and stick approach to force… …   English dictionary

  • carrot-and-stick — if you use a carrot and stick method to make someone do something, you both offer rewards and threaten punishments. I ve had to take the carrot and stick approach to disciplining my kids. The harder they work, the more money they get. (always… …   New idioms dictionary

  • carrot-and-stick — adjective Etymology: from the traditional alternatives of driving a donkey on by either holding out a carrot or whipping it with a stick Date: 1876 characterized by the use of both reward and punishment to induce cooperation < carrot and stick… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • carrot-and-stick — car·rot and stick (kărʹət ən stĭkʹ) adj. Combining a promised reward with a threatened penalty: took a carrot and stick approach to the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. * * * …   Universalium

  • carrot and stick — {n. phr.} The promise of reward and threat of punishment, both at the same time. * /John s father used the carrot and stick when he talked about his low grades./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • carrot and stick — {n. phr.} The promise of reward and threat of punishment, both at the same time. * /John s father used the carrot and stick when he talked about his low grades./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • carrot\ and\ stick — n. phr. the promise of reward and threat of punishment, both at the same time. John s father used the carrot and stick when he talked about his low grades …   Словарь американских идиом