carrot on a stick

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition -

"carrot on a stick"

a possible reward or incentive (sometimes unattainable) used to motivate or influence people


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition -

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  I wonder if I will ever get a promotion?

Colleague 2:  Doesn't the boss keep telling you that you will get promoted if you work hard enough and become proficient enough?

Colleague 1:  Yes. The boss keeps dangling that carrot on a stick but I have a feeling that it will never happen. The boss is just using the possibility of a promotion to keep me motivated.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition -

Two parents are talking ...

Mother:  How are we ever going to encourage our son to do his homework?

Father:  We could use a carrot-on-a-stick approach.

Mother:  How would that work?

Father:  You know how much he loves playing video games? We could disallow playing until his homework is finished. We could also set up a system whereby we buy him new games based on his performance.

Mother:  That would give him a big motivation.

carrot on a stick - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   39   click for frequency by country

carrot on a stick - Gerund Form:

Dangling a carrot on a stick is a common method used by parents to encourage good behavior in their children.

carrot on a stick - Examples:

1)  ... be fun and addictive rather than level grinds and gimmicks to keep you chasing a carrot on a stick

2)  So I dutifully kept following the carrot on a stick in front of me.

3)  From the minute you start playing, the game constantly dangles a carrot on a stick in front of you. It could be a new ability, ...

4)  The students are completing assessments and their mandatory food practical classes are used as the carrot on a stick to complete and hand in their work.

5)  ... man must have been eyeing the upcoming European Championships like a carrot on a stick.

6)  ... it's the carrot on a stick that entices people to learn about something new and different.

7)  ... a carrot on a stick meant to encourage promising youth into a path that, other than ...

8)  ... had moved on to whether the Modern Warfare re-master was a smart addition or a carrot on a stick designed to paper over the series' stagnation.

9)  The potential of discovering interesting outposts is like a carrot on a stick - finding shipwrecks, exploring the irradiated craters ...

10)  ... is the sequel's hook, dangling answers in front of its audience like a carrot on a stick.

11)  For all the efforts to reclaim the word, beauty remains a carrot on a stick, dangling just in front of our noses, obtainable if we ...

12)  ... the coal industry continually dangles carbon sequestration, carbon capture and coal gasification like a carrot on a stick that the horse can never reach.

13)  For far too long the promise of an airport has been a carrot on a stick to politicians who plod on an endless treadmill getting nowhere.

14)  It has also been the 'carrot on a stick' reward to entice students to complete their work.

15)  But to incentivize would-be runners, sneaker brand Kalenji found a motivating carrot on a stick—a lush dinner, paid for in miles. 

16)  It is not that I don't appreciate a blank canvas, but I tend to favor games where there is a carrot on a stick that gives me an incentive to keep ...

17)  Like the proverbial carrot on a stick, these potential customers dangle just out of range waiting for the right enticement. 

18)  Rula says the promise of money going to some of her favoured charities was the “carrot on a stick” that led her into the Celebrity Big Brother ...

19)  So it was like a carrot on a stick. Like, “Oh, man, if I work hard enough and get good enough I could do this for real!” 

20)  At first, sports served as a carrot on a stick, extorting school work out of her. Soon, the work ethic learned on the court was helping her pass ...