ar·​ri·​ère-pen·​sée ˌa-rē-ər-päⁿ-ˈsā How to pronounce arrière-pensée (audio)
: mental reservation

Word History


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

First Known Use

1617, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of arrière-pensée was in 1617

Dictionary Entries Near arrière-pensée

Cite this Entry

“Arrière-pensée.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on arrière-pensée

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!