ulterior » alterior

Chiefly in:   alterior motive

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Is there an alterior motive behind a woman’s actions? (Blogcity post title, 10 September 2006)
  • While the 31-year-old’s performance went well, Calwell confessed to having an alterior motive. “The event is really a stepping stone for me. Obviously, the triathlon season is my main goal. I am using this to prepare for the Contact Energy Cup starting in November.” (Rotura Daily Post (NZ), Sep 10, 2007)
  • Anyway, IBM has alterior motives here. (Guardian Games Blog, Keith Stuart, June 18, 2007)
  • Nobody seems able to give any possible alterior use this or a future government could put the database to that has even a theoretical basis in reality. (Guardian Unlimited, Reader comment, Sep 8, 2007)

Analyzed or reported by:

With the borrowing of words and phrases from other languages, English speakers have developed intuitions about the meaning of foreign roots. “Alternative”, “alter ego” etc. are sufficiently frequent to link _alter-_ to the sense “other”, and make _alter-_ more transparent than _ulter-/ultra_. (Note that the original sense “the other of two” has been largely obscured: the use of _alternative_ is a common entry in usage advice guides not only in English, but also in French and German, and probably in other languages.)

In the forum thread, poster booboo also noted a further development to _alternative motive_.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2007/09/13 |

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