An ulterior interest, argument, or revelation is one you try to keep hidden, like your ulterior motive for weeding your grandmother’s garden is to have a conversation with your crush — and Grandma’s neighbor — who happens to be outside, too.

The adjective ulterior is a Latin word which means “more distant” or “future.” Something that is ulterior may lay the groundwork for what comes later, like a new friend who hangs out with you at your house but whose ulterior motive is to date one of your siblings, or the incredible popularity of a series of novels set in a real place having the ulterior consequences of that place becoming a tourist destination.

Definitions of ulterior
  1. adjective

    lying beyond what is openly revealed or avowed (especially being kept in the background or deliberately concealed)

    “”looked too closely for an
    ulterior purpose in all knowledge”- Bertrand Russell”
    subterranean, subterraneous


    secret or hidden; not openly practiced or engaged in or shown or avowed
  2. adjective

    beyond or outside an area of immediate interest; remote

    “a suggestion
    ulterior to the present discussion”
    “”without…any purpose, immediate or
    ulterior“- G.B.Shaw”

    distant, remote

    far apart in relevance or relationship or kinship
  3. adjective

    coming at a subsequent time or stage

    ulterior argument”
    later, posterior


    following in time or order

Word Family