Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, 17th century
Next to last in a series
The next-to-last syllable of a single word
Examples of Penultimate in a sentence
"The penultimate episode of the series was much more emotional than the finale."
"The penultimate syllable of the word penultimate is 'ti.'"
Popularity Over Time
Sometimes the English language creates multiple words for a very specific purpose. Penultimate is partnered with two other words that mean "second-to-last," penult and penultima. However, these both tend to refer specifically to the second-to-last syllable of a word.
Did you Know?
Many writers incorrectly use penultimate as an intensified version of the word ultimate. Though this might have a nice ring to it, no editor in the world would let it slide.