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hidden agenda

A secret goal or an ulterior motive. I didn't trust Julie when she started being really nice to me out of the blue. It felt like she had a hidden agenda. I'm starting to wonder if the boss has a hidden agenda because he promised me the job but now he won't return my calls.
See also: agenda, hidden

have a hidden talent

 and have hidden talents
Fig. to have talents or skills that no one knows about. Wow, Perry! I didn't know you had so many hidden talents.
See also: have, hidden, talent

(a) hidden agenda

Fig. a secret plan; a concealed plan; a plan disguised as a plan with another purpose. I am sure that the chairman has a hidden agenda. I never did trust him anyway.
See also: agenda, hidden

a hidden agenda

COMMON If someone has a hidden agenda, they are secretly trying to achieve something while they appear to be doing something else. The unions fear these tactics are part of a hidden agenda to reduce pay and conditions throughout the company. The hidden agenda of the Government's prison privatisation policy seems to have been exposed. Note: An agenda is a list of things that need to be dealt with, for example at a meeting.
See also: agenda, hidden

hidden depths

admirable but previously unnoticed qualities.
See also: depth, hidden

a hidden agenda

a person's real but concealed aims and intentions.
1993 New Scientist I hear that the physics community is fearful the government has a hidden agenda and intends eventually to close the Daresbury Laboratory.
See also: agenda, hidden
References in classic literature ?
Hidden, shadowy doubts that had been in men's minds concerning Adolph Myers were galva- nized into beliefs.
Unluckily, in spite of my having proved the truth of the dervish's words in so many instances, I was firmly convinced that he was now keeping concealed from me some hidden and precious virtue of the ointment.
Seeing where the head of the monster was, the two men ventured a little further forward, and saw that the hidden mass at the base of the shaft was composed of vast coils of the great serpent's body, forming a base from which the upright mass rose.
I must really make another effort to discover where this girl is hidden," resumed the Sorceress, thoughtfully.
We must find Mombi," replied Glinda, "and force her to tell where the girl is hidden.
He had heard the victory cry of the bull ape as Tarzan had screamed it forth into the face of Goro, the moon, and he had trembled then and hidden his face; and now in the broad light of a new day he trembled again as he recalled it, and would have turned back from the nameless danger the echo of that frightful sound seemed to portend, had he not stood in even greater fear of Achmet Zek, his master.
With the coming of night he set forth, and Werper, who had scaled the cliffs alone behind the ape-man's party, and hidden through the day among the rough boulders of the mountain top, slunk stealthily after him.
It did not take them long to locate the position of the hidden sniper and then Tarzan saw a machine gun being trained upon him.
There were hidden machine guns, too, that bothered the colonel considerably.
He stepped aside then and another emerged from the corridor hidden by the arras.
Taking advantage of the forced wait De Vac undressed the Prince and clothed him in other garments, which had been wrapped in the bundle hidden beneath the thwart; a little red cotton tunic with hose to match, a black doublet and a tiny leather jerkin and leather cap.
No change of expression upon the Englishman's countenance betrayed that he had seen aught to surprise him, though surprised he was for the face in the aperture was that of the girl he had but just left hidden beneath the hides in another chamber.
You will find a change of clothes hidden in the malt-house, and an old caldron full of quicklime.
But he--HAD TO die: he looked with eyes which beheld EVERYTHING,--he beheld men's depths and dregs, all his hidden ignominy and ugliness.
said Levin, watching a slender tress at the back of her round little head that was continually hidden when she passed the comb through the front.