What Is Another Way to Say “Ulterior Motive”?

Looking for synonyms for ulterior motive? We’ve got you covered!

Here’s a list of other ways to say ulterior motive.

  • Hidden agenda
  • Secret plan
  • Covert intention
  • Concealed purpose
  • Underlying motive
  • Subtle aim
  • Veiled intent
  • Clandestine objective
  • Disguised reason
  • Sly scheme
  • Stealthy goal
  • Camouflaged motive
  • Unavowed purpose
  • Covert design
  • Backdoor strategy

Want to learn how to say ulterior motive professionally? Keep reading for examples and use cases.

1. Hidden Agenda

When to Use: This phrase is appropriate in professional settings when discussing someone’s undisclosed intentions, especially in corporate or political contexts.
Example: “I’m concerned that the new board member has a hidden agenda to redirect our project funds to his own initiatives.”

2. Secret Plan

When to Use: Use this when referring to a confidential strategy or plan within a professional environment, such as in business or military operations.
Example: “The CEO has a secret plan to acquire the competitor without alerting the market.”

3. Covert Intention

When to Use: Ideal for situations where someone’s intentions are not just hidden, but also potentially deceptive or harmful in a workplace.
Example: “His overt support for the policy belies his covert intention to undermine it for personal gain.”

4. Concealed Purpose

When to Use: This is used when referring to a purpose that is not apparent and may affect decision-making in a business or legal context.
Example: “The concealed purpose behind the merger was to monopolize the market.”

5. Underlying Motive

When to Use: Suitable for contexts where deeper, often less apparent reasons behind actions or decisions in a professional setting are discussed.
Example: “The underlying motive for the sudden policy change appears to be regulatory compliance.”

6. Subtle Aim

When to Use: Use this in situations where the goal is not overtly stated but is driving decisions or actions in subtle ways in professional scenarios.
Example: “Her subtle aim in restructuring the department is to streamline operations.”

7. Veiled Intent

When to Use: Appropriate in cases where intentions are intentionally obscured or disguised in professional dealings.
Example: “There seems to be a veiled intent behind the investor’s questions about our financial health.”

8. Clandestine Objective

When to Use: Suitable for situations involving secret or hidden objectives, especially in sensitive or confidential business operations.
Example: “The clandestine objective of the research was to develop a technology ahead of competitors.”

9. Disguised Reason

When to Use: Used when a reason is presented as one thing but actually serves another purpose in professional contexts.
Example: “The disguised reason for the extended meeting was to discuss the CEO’s succession plan.”

10. Sly Scheme

When to Use: Ideal for describing plans or strategies that are cunning or deceitful, particularly in competitive business environments.
Example: “The competitor’s sly scheme to poach our clients was subtly executed.”

11. Stealthy Goal

When to Use: Use this for goals pursued in a secretive or unnoticeable manner in areas like corporate strategies or espionage.
Example: “Their stealthy goal was to infiltrate the market without drawing attention from large players.”

12. Camouflaged Motive

When to Use: Appropriate for motives that are intentionally hidden or disguised under a façade in professional dealings.
Example: “The camouflaged motive behind the generous offer was to gain regulatory favors.”

13. Unavowed Purpose

When to Use: Suitable for describing a purpose that is not openly acknowledged, especially in diplomatic or legal discussions.
Example: “The unavowed purpose of the policy was to subtly shift the industry standards.”

14. Covert Design

When to Use: Ideal for situations where the design or plan is secret and intended to be undetected in professional environments.
Example: “The new initiative was a covert design to restructure the company without alarming the stakeholders.”

15. Backdoor Strategy

When to Use: Use this term for strategies that are implemented indirectly or through non-obvious means in business or politics.
Example: “The company employed a backdoor strategy to enter the foreign market without direct confrontation.”

Linda Brown