I first encountered the term "agenda-driven" in description of cat breed's temperaments. While I sense the meaning, being non-native speaker makes it hard to understand term "agenda-driven" in various contexts. I see this term used more and more often. No dictionaries are defining it. I mentioned the cat's context only to show how widespread and strange the contexts can get with this term. I am looking for the most general definition fo course, not cat-related. Sometimes it means "following a defined schedule" and sometimes "being dense and pushing someones agenda" etc.

Could please someone offer some good single-word synonyms and a good dictionary-like definition for "agenda-driven"?

Thank you!


The Abyssinian cat is unlike the more mellow cat breeds. They have a lot of energy, can be mischievous, and often demand plenty of attention from their owners. Abyssinians are active, curious people-cats. They are also very loving, yet tend to be dominant over other animals in the household. The Abyssinian is a distinctively marked, busy, agenda-driven cat that will entertain you by the hour. It is inquisitive, affectionate and will enjoy just about any game. The first pairs of cats said to be of Abyssinian origin were brought to England in the 1800's.

SOURCE: https://www.cat-health-detective.com/abyssinian-cat.html

  • I have absolutely no idea what "agenda-driven" might mean in the context of describing the "tempers" (temperaments?) of cat breeds. If you know, please tell us. If not, please provide more context for the usage. Note that if you do something in an "agenda-driven" way this means you're trying to promote some specific position or message (an "agenda") - often without explicitly admitting what that position is. Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 14:15
  • @FumbleFingers I updated the question. Cats were just a small example of weirdness. Thanks for your attention!
    – iLie
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 14:50
  • Yes, that text says that Abyssinians are agenda driven. It's just an image. If a cat is driven by chasing mice, you could say: that cat is agenda driven. Its agenda is chasing mice.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 15:52
  • The example of a cat being "agenda-driven" isn't a particularly good one, imho. The standard meaning of agenda is a list of items to be discussed, but to my mind, He's agenda-driven and He has an agenda often (even usually) carry the implication of a secret agenda (he's trying to change what you do or think, but not being honest about his goals). Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:11
  • Welcome to ELU! Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered - please could you edit in the sentence in which this will be used? Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 20:32

3 Answers 3


It just means that the entity under discussion (a cat, or an Asia-Pacific trade working group)

  1. has some agenda that is, something it wants or intends to achieve
  2. is "driven" by that agenda so it is going to try to get or achieve this thing it wants, rather than being focused on pleasing others or other external motivations.

The meaning of agenda you want is the second listed by Merriam-Webster

an underlying often ideological plan or program

although probably not in the ideological sense, for cats.

  • Sure and with cats is just an image. Their agenda can be chasing mice.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 15:53
  • Thank you. If you know some single-word synonyms please post them.
    – iLie
    Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 17:45

Here's something I found in Google books that might help -

enter image description here

(An APEC Trade Agenda?: The Political Economy of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific)

Implementing this will definitely require further reforms. The reforms will be guided by this agenda. This is "agenda-driven" reform at work. APEC's mode of operation should be task-oriented. Working Groups, for instance, must have a clear sunset clause.

A Hanoi Action Plan that is concise and focused can guide this process. This can complement the Busan Roadmap, together they can produce a more balanced agenda for APEC.

Beyond the reform, it may well be that after all, APEC itself should be an"agenda-driven" process. For some time to come, it cannot be a process that is driven by leaders or by institutions. But leadership is still important for the process. This underlines the notion of "issue-specific" (or agenda-driven) leadership that should characterize APEC.

So "agenda-driven" could mean "issue-specific", as in working towards (resolving) a specific issue.

  • 1
    Please could you add text as well as an image? Commented Sep 22, 2019 at 20:51
  • @marcellothearcane - I have edited my post to make your suggested changes. Thanks!
    – Justin
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 16:59
  • 1
    Perfect! Have an upvote :) Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 19:43
  • @marcellothearcane - Gee, thanks!
    – Justin
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 19:44

Though a non-English speaker, to me agenda driven means someone is bent on proving his idea no matter what it takes. He disregards objectivity and is not willing to determine the truth but only to think up whatever proofs he could that would make his idea look right and justified. The examples were Southern slave owners who claimed that their enslavement of Africans is justified by words in Genesis 9:20-27 in spite the fact that these words give no ground for such interpretations as majority of Christian theologians have pointed out. So, agenda driven people are those who are obsessed with their own invented ideology or ideas and are stubborn to find anything that can justify their ideas without being able to be unbiased, impartial, to perceive the truth and to realize that their ideas are wrong.

  • Hello, Dušan. So, people who choose to do their own thing. Sounds like most of us, going astray like sheep. And cats. Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 11:45

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