ulterior

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adjective ul·te·ri·or \ˌəl-ˈtir-ē-ər\

Definition of ulterior

  1. 1a :  further, futureb :  more distantc :  situated on the farther side

  2. 2 :  going beyond what is openly said or shown and especially what is proper ulterior motives

ulteriorly

adverb

ulterior was our Word of the Day on 03/25/2015. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of ulterior from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ulterior'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Although now usually hitched to the front of the noun "motive" to refer to a hidden need or desire that inspires action, "ulterior" began its career as an adjective in the mid-17th century describing something occurring at a subsequent time. By the early 18th century it was being used to mean both "more distant" (literally and figuratively) and "situated on the farther side." The "hidden" sense with which we're most familiar today followed quickly after those, with the word modifying nouns like "purpose," "design," and "consequence." "Ulterior" comes directly from the Latin word for "farther" or "further," itself assumed to be the comparative form of ulter, meaning "situated beyond."

Origin and Etymology of ulterior

Latin, farther, further, comparative of *ulter situated beyond, from uls beyond; akin to Latin ollus, ille, that one, Old Irish indoll beyond



ULTERIOR Defined for English Language Learners

ulterior

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adjective

Definition of ulterior for English Language Learners

  • : kept hidden in order to get a particular result


ULTERIOR Defined for Kids

ulterior

play
adjective ul·te·ri·or \ˌəl-ˈtir-ē-ər\

Definition of ulterior for Students

  1. :  kept hidden usually on purpose ulterior motives



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to bring about or cause (something)

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