penultimate

[pi-nuhl-tuh-mit]
adjective
  1. next to the last: the penultimate scene of the play.
  2. of or relating to a penult or the next to the last syllable in a word: In the word appropriate, -pri- is the penultimate syllable.
noun
  1. a penult.

Origin of penultimate

First recorded in 1670–80; see origin at penult, ultimate
Can be confusedlast penultimate ultimate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for penultimate

penultimate

adjective
  1. next to the last
noun
  1. anything that is next to the last, esp a penult

Word Origin for penultimate

C17: from Latin paene almost + ultimate, on the model of Latin paenultimus
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 penultimate
adj.

1670s, from penultima (n.) on model of proximate.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper