Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 13:55:09 +0000
From: Jim Rader
Subject: Re: "incent"

We have not a lot of material on the verb _incent_: five printed
cites, the earliest being June, 1993, and several comments made to
the Editiorial Dept. in reader letters and postings to our AOL
suggestion box. The earliest such report is an interoffice memo inquiring
about the word from the former president of Merriam to the
editor-in-chief (Jan., 1992). _Incent_ seems to be advertising- and
sales department-speak, which has probably been underrepresented in
past reading and marking here, especially during the '80's, when the
Merriam staff was small.

I had meaning to do a Nexis search on _incent_, but Fred Shapiro has
done it for me. My Nexis searching lately has been devoted to
_Portobello (mushroom)_. If anybody on the list has a pet theory
explaining this name, let me know. I have only one rather tentative
hypothesis at present.

Jim Rader