What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[pi-nuhl-tuh-mit] /pɪˈnʌl tə mɪt/
next to the last:
the penultimate scene of the play.
of or relating to a penult or the next to the last syllable in a word:
In the word appropriate, -pri- is the penultimate syllable.
a penult.
Origin of penultimate
1670-80; see penult, ultimate
Can be confused
last, penultimate, ultimate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for penultimate
  • The crash happened on the third turn of the half-mile dirt track, on the penultimate lap of the race.
  • Was that a 'going forward' in the penultimate paragraph?
  • The penultimate chapter presents the example of Mary as a paragon of simplicity.
  • It should be accented on the penultimate, but the patrons immediately moved the accent one place forward.
  • The penultimate wave in the fatal series landed at the ankles of observers on the rocks.
  • The penultimate section is just flabbergasting, though.
  • Why he has faked his death is explained in the story's penultimate surprise.
  • Italians tend to accent the penultimate syllable and then buy a vowel.
  • With regard to the penultimate paragraph, its based on a false distinction.
  • The play, Moliere's penultimate work, is a sharply satiric commentary on literary pretension and wounded vanities.
British Dictionary definitions for penultimate


next to the last
anything that is next to the last, esp a penult
Word Origin
C17: from Latin paene almost + ultimate, on the model of Latin paenultimus
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for penultimate

1670s, from penultima (n.) on model of proximate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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