[ pi-nuhl-tuh-mit ]
/ pɪˈnʌl tə mɪt /


next to the last: the penultimate scene of the play.
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.


a penult.

Nearby words

  1. pentylenetetrazol,
  2. penuche,
  3. penuchle,
  4. penult,
  5. penultima,
  6. penumbra,
  7. penurious,
  8. penuriously,
  9. penury,
  10. penutian

Origin of penultimate

First recorded in 1670–80; see origin at penult, ultimate

Can be confusedlast penultimate ultimate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for penultimate

British Dictionary definitions for penultimate


/ (pɪˈnʌltɪmɪt) /


next to the last


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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper