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
First Known Use: 1646
ULTERIOR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ulterior for English Language Learners
: kept hidden in order to get a particular result
ULTERIOR Defined for Kids
Definition of ulterior for Students
: kept hidden usually on purpose <ulterior motives>
Seen and Heard
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