Alternative formsEdit


From Latin ulterior ‎(further, more distant), from ulter ‎(that is beyond) + -ior ‎(more).



ulterior ‎(not comparable)

  1. Situated beyond, or on the farther side.
  2. Beyond what is obvious or evident.
  3. Being intentionally concealed so as to deceive.
    • 1960, Richard Stanley Peters, “Motives and Motivation”, in The Concept of Motivation (Studies in Philosophical Psychology), 2nd edition, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; New York, N.Y.: Humanities Press, OCLC 613171051, page 32:
      Motives, of course, may be mixed; but this only means that a man aims at a variety of goals by means of the same course of action. Similarly a man may have a strong motive or a weak one, an ulterior motive or an ostensible one.
  4. (archaic) Happening later; subsequent.
    an ulterior action
    • 1840, M. Lepage, “On the Means of Distinguishing Vegetable Alkalies by Chlorine, and by the Sulpho-cynanide of Potassium”, in Charles Watt and John Watt, Jun., editors, The Chemist; or Reporter of Chemical Discoveries and Improvements, and Protector of the Rights of the Chemist and Chemical Manufacturer, volume I, London: Printed for the proprietors, and sold by R. Hastings, 13, Carey Street, OCLC 7752341, page 141:
      A rather deep red coloration, which appears by the action of the first bubbles of chlorine, but which soon disappears by the ulterior action of this gas: not turbid.

Usage notesEdit

Ulterior is primarily used today to refer to impure, covert, and external motives. In the sense “beyond, farther”, the Latin antonym is propior ‎(nearer), which is not used in English. Instead, proximate and ultimate are respectively used for “nearest” and “farthest” (cause, etc.).


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

External linksEdit



ulter +‎ -ior


ulterior ‎(comparative of ulter)

  1. further away


Third declension, comparative variant

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masc./Fem. Neuter Masc./Fem. Neuter
nominative ulterior ulterius ulteriōrēs ulteriōra
genitive ulteriōris ulteriōrum
dative ulteriōrī ulteriōribus
accusative ulteriōrem ulterius ulteriōrēs ulteriōra
ablative ulteriōre ulteriōribus
vocative ulterior ulterius ulteriōrēs ulteriōra






ulterior m, f ‎(plural ulteriores)

  1. ulterior
  2. later; subsequent

Derived termsEdit