: the next to the last member of a series
especially : the second to last syllable of a word : penultima
Sam must have known Sophia Peabody Hawthorne. (Peabody. Was the accent on the first syllable or should you come down hard on the penult, too? … ) Jane Langton

Word History


Latin paenultima penult, from feminine of paenultimus almost last, from paene almost + ultimus last — more at ultimate

First Known Use

1537, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of penult was in 1537

Dictionary Entries Near penult

Cite this Entry

“Penult.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the next to the last syllable of a word
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