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penult

[pee-nuhlt, pi-nuhlt]
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noun
  1. the next to the last syllable in a word.
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Also pe·nul·ti·ma [pi-nuhl-tuh-muh] /pɪˈnʌl tə mə/.

Origin of penult

1530–40; < Latin paenultima (syllaba), contraction of paene ultima almost the last; see pen-, ultima
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for penultima

Historical Examples

  • But Ἀργυρία, with the accent on the penultima, becomes the name of a town.

    The Geography of Strabo, Volume II (of 3)

    Strabo

  • Disyllables lengthen the penultima, as 'stable', 'title', 'pupil'.

  • Trisyllabic verbs throw the stress back and shorten the penultima, as 'dsŏlate', 'sffŏcate', 'scntĭllate'.

  • A fully stressed vowel before a mute and r, or before d or pl, was pronounced long in the penultima.

  • With no vowel before the penultima the long quality is, as usual, preserved, as in 'satiety'.


British Dictionary definitions for penultima

penult

penultima (pɪˈnʌltɪmə)

noun
  1. the last syllable but one in a word
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Word Origin

C16: Latin paenultima syllaba, from paene ultima almost the last
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

Word Origin and History for penultima

n.

1580s, from Latin penultima (syllaba), "the next to the last syllable of a word or verse," from fem. of Latin adjective penultimus "next-to-last," from paene "almost" + ultimus "final" (see ultimate).

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penult

adj.

"last but one," 1530s, abbreviation of penultima. As a noun from 1570s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper