pen·​ul·​ti·​mate | \ pi-ˈnəl-tə-mət How to pronounce penultimate (audio) \

Definition of penultimate

1 : next to the last the penultimate chapter of a book
2 : of or relating to the next to the last syllable of a word a penultimate accent

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Other Words from penultimate

penultimately adverb

Did You Know?

Penultimate isn't the last word in words for things that are next to last. There is a pair of noun synonyms that are used commonly enough to have gained entry into abridged dictionaries: penult and penultima. Although all three can refer to something that's next to last, penult and penultima are usually a bit more specific; they are used most often to identify the next to last syllable of a word. All three derive from paenultima, a Latin root from paene ("almost") and ultima ("last"). You may occasionally hear the word penultimate used as an intensified version of ultimate, as in "a race they've called 'the penultimate challenge.'" This use isn't typically found in edited prose, however-or in dictionaries. One of our editors discusses it in this video.

Examples of penultimate in a Sentence

Belle was the penultimate person to die, just hours before a slave, fifty-three-year-old Alba, wandered in delirium away from his cabin and sat down to death in front of Carlyle's airing-out cottage. — Edward P. Jones, The Known World, 2003 He threw harder in the last inning than he did in the first, whiffing pinch hitter Darryl Strawberry with a 97-mph heater for the penultimate out and blowing away the final hitter, Knoblauch, with a 96-mph fastball. — Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, 27 Mar. 2000 … regulations have cleared the penultimate hurdle and appear ready to become law … — John Aloysius Farrell, Sunday Denver (CO) Post, 2 Sept. 1984 Pompey … speaks of her mother's difficult death and of her own longings for death and rises to a rare moment of lyric power in the novel's penultimate paragraph. — Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times Book Review, 3 Oct. 1982 the penultimate syllable of the word
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Recent Examples on the Web LouCity has made deep runs into the playoffs seem routine at this point, but the team continues to count its blessings in being able to advance to the penultimate game of the postseason for a chance to advance to the USL Cup match. Jonathan Saxon, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC's coach grew up cheering for Tampa Bay. Now, he's prepping to beat them," 20 Oct. 2020 Brady Sprik, a paralyzed high school senior playing for Platte-Geddes, was put into the team’s penultimate game last week against Gregory. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Paralyzed South Dakota high school senior scores touchdown in one of team's final games," 16 Oct. 2020 The point was simply being there; the camera rolls and Bruce performs, in what turned out to be his penultimate public appearance, from 1965. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Sixty-two Films That Shaped the Art of Documentary Filmmaking," 14 Oct. 2020 That night, the two-time Stanley Cup champion stopped all but one of the Golden Knights' 49 shots to preserve a 3-1 victory in what turned out to be his penultimate game with the Hawks, which included 96 playoff games in 13 seasons. Phil Thompson,, "Column: Have the Chicago Blackhawks already shut the door on next season’s playoffs? The Corey Crawford decision suggests they might have.," 9 Oct. 2020 Turkette’s turn on Triple G is the penultimate episode of the show’s 24th season. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, "Turchetti's butcher looks to bring home the bacon on 'Guy’s Grocery Games'," 30 Sep. 2020 Pogacar, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday, is the youngest winner since 1904, sealing his triumph with a sensational performance in the mountain time trial on the penultimate stage. Paul Gittings, CNN, "Tadej Pogacar wins Tour de France to make history for Slovenia," 20 Sep. 2020 The Bears were lucky in Week 1 that Lions running back D’Andre Swift dropped a game-winning touchdown pass on the penultimate play. Dan Wiederer,, "Matt Nagy’s assertion that his team is ‘just OK right now’ is _____. The Chicago Bears really need Khalil Mack to ________.Our writers offer their takes on 4 key topics.," 24 Sep. 2020 Drew Smyly, in his penultimate start of the regular season, pitched five scoreless innings before running into trouble in the sixth and needing Trevor Cahill to bail him out. John Shea,, "Giants beat Rockies on big pinch hits for Dickerson, Belt, playoffs in reach," 22 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penultimate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of penultimate

1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for penultimate

see penult

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Time Traveler for penultimate

Time Traveler

The first known use of penultimate was in 1677

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Statistics for penultimate

Last Updated

24 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Penultimate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for penultimate


How to pronounce penultimate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of penultimate

formal : occurring immediately before the last one : next to the last

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