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  1. being beyond what is seen or avowed; intentionally kept concealed: ulterior motives.
  2. coming at a subsequent time or stage; future; further: ulterior action.
  3. lying beyond or outside of some specified or understood boundary; more remote: a suggestion ulterior to the purposes of the present discussion.
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Origin of ulterior

1640–50; < Latin: farther, akin to ultrā on the far side; cf. ultra-
Related formsul·te·ri·or·ly, adverb


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ulterior


  1. lying beneath or beyond what is revealed, evident, or supposedulterior motives
  2. succeeding, subsequent, or later
  3. lying beyond a certain line or point
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Derived Formsulteriorly, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Latin: further, from ulter beyond
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ulterior


1640s, from Latin ulterior "more distant, further," comparative of *ulter "beyond" (see ultra-). The sense in ulterior motives is first attested 1735.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper