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

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, the feminine of paenultimus, a Latin root from paene ("almost") and ultimus ("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
Recent Examples on the Web The penultimate episode of the season aired live Tuesday, with stunning performances from the eleven frontrunners duking it out for the win. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2022 While on set in Buenos Aires as the penultimate episode was being filmed, and looking around at the remaining competitors compared to everyone who started the season, the Survivor supremacy couldn't be denied. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 8 Sep. 2022 The penultimate stage is an exciting 41-kilometer (25-mile) time trial to the clifftop village of Rocamadour in south-central France. Associated Press,, 30 June 2022 Four rookies — NaLyssa Smith, Queen Egbo, Destanni Henderson and Lexie Hull — were slated to start the season’s penultimate game against the Mystics. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 13 Aug. 2022 On the eighth day of the Summer League tournament, the penultimate game before heading home, second of a back-to-back, the Cavs looked heavy-legged and worn out. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 16 July 2022 In the penultimate episode of Westworld season four, Charlotte Hale’s new world order is crushed by the hands of several hosts. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Aug. 2022 Meanwhile, Carlsbad’s Ron Capps holds a one-point lead atop the Funny Car standings going into the penultimate race of the National Hot Rod Association season this Sunday at Las Vegas. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Oct. 2021 With the help of a win in last year’s penultimate race, Perez – then 30 and a 10-year F1 vet – finally was offered the ride that all drivers dream about: Red Bull. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of penultimate was in 1677

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Penultimate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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