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base motive

Motivation for some action or actions that is guided by selfishness or moral depravity. It is clear now that his decision to marry into her wealthy family was led purely by base motives. I don't believe the defendant had any base motives in this case. I think she was well-intentioned but naïve about the repercussions of her actions.
See also: base, motive

ulterior motive

cliché A clandestine purpose for one's actions, often hidden behind a façade of generosity or magnanimity. At first we thought she genuinely wanted to help our organization's agenda, but it soon became clear that she had some ulterior motive for digging up information on the other company's CEO. A: "You want to spend your whole weekend helping me move out of my apartment? What's the catch?" B: "What, can't I just want to help out my baby brother? You act as if I've got an ulterior motive or something!"
See also: motive, ulterior
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

ulterior motive, an

A hidden purpose, a secret reason for saying or doing something. The adjective ulterior originally meant “beyond” or “more distant,” a usage taken from the Latin and dating from the mid-1600s. Less than a century later it began to be used more specifically to mean “beyond what is said or evident.” It then was combined with several nouns—ulterior intentions, ulterior designs, ulterior purpose. Its frequent combination with motive is more recent.
See also: an, ulterior
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
"It means that robbery was one of the motives for the crime."
While I acknowledge that I was not strong enough to keep my motives above the reach of this instinct of revenge, I can honestly say something in my own favour on the other side.
Perhaps he reflected on his motives; but it seemed to me that his conscience could be nothing else but a monstrous thing which very few actions could disturb appreciably.
Miami, FL, August 30, 2019 --( Miami artist Fly Stoner Motive inspires supporters with exclusive listening event.
I'd like to suggest that there may be an ulterior motive.
It is targeting new business in the region after partnering up with Sharjah-based Motive FZE, part of Boyndiebased Motive Offshore Group.
Regarding sources of evidence for concurrent and predictive validity, and similarly to those found with alcohol, it seems that each marijuana motive type relates differently to cannabis outcomes (Simons et al., 1998).
'What is the motive?' Lacson asked on Thursday at the Kapihan sa Senado forum where Acierto's report linking former presidential adviser Michael Yang and Allan Lim to the drug trade was discussed.
Motive Partners has announced it has completed the acquisition of Dun & Bradstreet as part of an investor group led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, Bilcar, LLC, Black Knight, Inc., and funds affiliated with Thomas H.
Captain Jack Pearson Possible motive: Old smoothie Jack is retiring - though not when it comes to the ladies.
Colleen Possible motive: The acid-tongued OAP makes no friends on board.
Possible motive: Still waters can run deep especially on a cruise ship.
13 December 2018 - US and UK-based investment firm Motive Partners has signed an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in financial technology provider Finantix, the firm said.