• IPA: /pɪˈnʌltɪmət/

penultimate (not comparable)

  1. (UK, in US usually, formal, literary or scholarly) Next to last, second to last; immediately preceding the end of a sequence, list, etc.
    • 1878, Samuel Butler, Life and Habit, ch. 10:
      But it should frequently happen that offspring should resemble its penultimate rather than its latest phase, and should thus be more like a grand-parent than a parent.
    • 1913, Jack London, The Valley of the Moon, ch. 3:
      “Your clothes don't weigh more'n seven pounds. And seven from—hum—say one hundred an' twenty-three—one hundred an' sixteen is your stripped weight.”
      But at the penultimate word, Mary cried out with sharp reproof:
      “Why, Billy Roberts, people don't talk about such things.”
  2. (linguistics) Of or pertaining to a penult.
  3. (math, rare) Relating to or denoting an element of a related collection of curves that is arbitrarily close to a degenerate form.
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Noun

penultimate (plural penultimates)

  1. (uncommon) A penult, a next-to-last thing, particularly:
    • 1962, Minutes of the Adjourned Meeting of 22nd Biennial Convention of the United Lutheran Church in America, XXII.iv:
      Our Lutheran concern for the ultimates (the Gospel) has allowed us to neglect some of the penultimates (bodily healing), failing to stress the total implications of that ultimate Gospel.
    1. (obsolete, rare) The penultimate day of a month.
      • 1529 August 30, Bishop Stephen Gardiner, letter (1933), 33:
        At Woodstock, the penultimate of August.
    2. (linguistics, literature, uncommon) The penultimate syllable of a word or metrical line.
      • 1728, E. Chambers Cyclopædia:
        Antepenultimate is that before the Penultimate, or the last but two.
    3. (math, obsolete, rare) The penultimate element of a collection of curves.
    4. (cards, uncommon) The penultimate (next to lowest) card in a suit.
      • 1876, Arthur Campbell-Walker, The Correct Card, Glossary page xiii:
        Penultimate, the. — Beginning with the lowest card but one of the suit you lead originally, if it contains more than four cards.
    Synonyms: penult

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