• synonyms


[pee-nuhlt, pi-nuhlt]
  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 penult

Historical Examples of penult

  • I am unaware why the accent is on the penult, and not on the ultimate of Willamette.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 86, December, 1864


  • The Indian name is pronounced as if written “Thayendanauga,” with accent on penult.

  • Names on which accents are not placed are accented on the penult.

  • When the last syllable has a short vowel, such a penult, if accented, takes the circumflex.

  • Worcester's orthography is Hindostanee and Hindostany, but the accent is on the penult as above.

British Dictionary definitions for penult


penultima (pɪˈnʌltɪmə)

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

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 penult


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper