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.
    • 1956–1960, R.S. Peters, The Concept of Motivation, Routledge & Kegan Paul (second edition, 1960), chapter ii: “Motives and Motivation”, 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, in The Chemist, volume 1, 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 []

Usage notesEdit

Ulterior is primarily used today to mean impure, covert, external motives, and generally not opposed to etymological antonyms. In the comparative sense “beyond, farther”, the Latin antonym is propior ‎(nearer), which is not used in English (compare proximate/ultimate for “nearest/farthest (cause etc.)”). In the sense “after, subsequent”, it can be opposed to prior, but the sense “after” is now archaic (compare primate/ultimate for “first/last”).


  • (intentionally concealed, to deceive): ostensible

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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 ulteriōris ulteriōrum ulteriōrum
dative ulteriōrī ulteriōrī ulteriōribus ulteriōribus
accusative ulteriōrem ulterius ulteriōrēs ulteriōra
ablative ulteriōre ulteriōre ulteriōribus ulteriōribus
vocative ulterior ulterius ulteriōrēs ulteriōra





ulterior m, f ‎(plural ulteriores)

  1. ulterior
  2. later; subsequent

Derived termsEdit

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