1617, in the meaning defined above
borrowed from French, "ulterior motive, mental reservation," from arrièrre "back, rear" (going back to Old French arriere, adverb, "back, behind") + pensée "thought" — more at arrear, pansy
Time Traveler for arrière-pensée
See more words from the same year
Cite this Entry
“Arrière-pensée.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arri%C3%A8re-pens%C3%A9e. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.
More from Merriam-Webster on arrière-pensée
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arrière-pensée
See Definitions and Examples »
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Farm Idioms Quiz
Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?
Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!
Top 10 Latin Phrases
Don't argue with the dictionary
This is usage
A simple trick to keep them separate
How 'literally' can mean "figuratively"
How to use a word that (literally) drives some pe...
The awkward case of 'his or her'
How many do you know?
Take the quiz