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[uhl-teer-ee-er] /ʌlˈtɪər i ər/
being beyond what is seen or avowed; intentionally kept concealed:
ulterior motives.
coming at a subsequent time or stage; future; further:
ulterior action.
lying beyond or outside of some specified or understood boundary; more remote:
a suggestion ulterior to the purposes of the present discussion.
Origin of ulterior
1640-50; < Latin: farther, akin to ultrā on the far side; cf. ultra-
Related forms
ulteriorly, adverb
1. hidden, covert, undisclosed, undivulged. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ulterior
  • ulterior transaction occurs when communication exists at both the overt and the covert levels.
  • Others see ulterior motives to the groups' charity.
  • Occasionally, they would suspect the person had ulterior motives.
  • He wanted time and the absence of ulterior pressure.
  • This seems like unfair spoiled whining at best, and wreaks of ulterior motive at worst.
  • The people at the top of the organization often have ulterior motives and alternative goals than the ones being openly expressed.
  • In general, it is best to assume good intentions rather than ulterior motives (unless you have irrefutable proof to the contrary).
  • Of course anyone who takes umbrage with the policy must have an ulterior, and sinister motive.
  • There can be no ulterior political interest.
  • They're both making the same error, they're both extremists and they're both talking at cross-purposes with ulterior agenda.
British Dictionary definitions for ulterior


lying beneath or beyond what is revealed, evident, or supposed: ulterior motives
succeeding, subsequent, or later
lying beyond a certain line or point
Derived Forms
ulteriorly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: further, from ulter beyond
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ulterior

1640s, from Latin ulterior "more distant, further," comparative of *ulter "beyond" (see ultra-). The sense in ulterior motives is first attested 1735.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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