Definition of ulterior in English:


See synonyms for ulterior

Translate ulterior into Spanish


  • 1Existing beyond what is obvious or admitted; intentionally hidden.

    ‘could there be an ulterior motive behind his request?’
    • ‘It is as close as the wily McGahern will get to admitting ulterior motives for writing such a personal book.’
    • ‘But the rest of you, if you are real and proper visitors with no ulterior motives or hidden agendas, welcome, pull up a chair and stay a while.’
    • ‘It would be easier to dismiss the whole exercise if there were an obvious ulterior motive.’
    • ‘Here Charlie admits to an ulterior, safety-related, motive.’
    • ‘When the intentions are not good and there are ulterior motives lurking behind, then it is detrimental to religion.’
    • ‘But Drew had to admit she also had a more selfish, ulterior motive for not going.’
    • ‘Has it ever occurred to anyone the ulterior motive behind these shows?’
    • ‘If this is not acceptable to the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the country, then Protestants may be led to conclude that there is an ulterior motive behind all the bluster.’
    • ‘But those are clichés only to those of cynical persuasion who assume that an ulterior motive lurks behind every altruistic act.’
    • ‘The ulterior motive behind the festival facade is not hard to uncover.’
    • ‘Town mayor Councillor Martin Leathley said there was no ulterior motive behind the change of job title.’
    • ‘If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.’
    • ‘Is he really behind Jill and her dream to fulfill her dead husband's destiny, or is there an ulterior motive behind his caring compassion?’
    • ‘A quick query with the UCB revealed no obviously ulterior motive - they don't even know when the touring squad for Sri Lanka will be announced.’
    • ‘Seeing as though the cat was a gift from Renee, I think perhaps that there was an ulterior motive behind the gift.’
    • ‘All this doesn't necessarily mean there's no ulterior motive behind the Corning action.’
    • ‘Be wary of anything he says, because a good portion of it has an ulterior motive behind it that will not lead to marriage.’
    • ‘There isn't any ulterior motive behind any of the decisions we make.’
    • ‘To be completely honest, there was no ulterior motive behind the act whatsoever.’
    • ‘You seem to have some ulterior motive behind asking this, and I doubt that it was to put any of us in harm's way, since you're too good for that.’
    secondary, underlying, undisclosed, undivulged, unexpressed, unapparent, under wraps, unrevealed, concealed, hidden, covert, secret, personal, private, selfish
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    1. 1.1Beyond what is immediate or present; coming in the future.
      ‘ulterior pay promised to the mariners’
      • ‘Thus, if a person enters with an ulterior intent, the entry will generally be trespassory unless the occupier has granted permission to enter for that purpose.’



/əlˈtirēər/ /əlˈtɪriər/


Mid 17th century from Latin, literally ‘further, more distant’.