ulterior motive



ulterior motive (plural ulterior motives)

  1. An alternative or extrinsic reason for doing something, especially when concealed or when differing from the stated or apparent reason.
    • 1895, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, chapter 9, in The Stark Munro Letters:
      There lurks no bribe in the smell and beauty of the flower. Its charm has no ulterior motive.
    • 1941, "Poetry," Time, 8 Dec.,
      The poet is a man without a profit or any other kind of ulterior motive.
    • 2006, Philip Sington, Zoia's Gold[1], Scribner, →ISBN, page 197:
      I have an ulterior motive, of course. I want a progress report on the catalog. You've been so mysterious about the whole thing, people are starting to talk.