Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The next to the last item in a series.
  • n. The next to the last syllable in a word.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The next-to-last syllable of a word.
  • n. The next to the last in a series.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The last syllable but one of a word; the syllable preceding the final one.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Next to the last; penultimate.
  • n. The last syllable of a word but one.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the next to last syllable in a word

Etymologies

Short for penultima, from Latin paenultima, feminine of paenultimus, next to last : paene, almost + ultimus, last; see ultimate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From penultimate ("next to last"), by shortening (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If the penult is short, the antepenult is accented provided it be long: Sansthā́naka.

    The Little Clay Cart Mrcchakatika

  • Noel Coward was partial to this, forever rhyming on the ante-penult.

    Broadway's Last Good Time

  • The scientists made the measured cautious statement on page 1294 col 2 penult para of their paper “Thus, proxy-derived series suggest that twentieth century warming is unique in the last millennium for both its mean value and probably for its rapidity of change.”

    Stern Review – Technical Appendix « Climate Audit

  • Of or relating to the penult of a word: penultimate stress.

    idiot-milk Diary Entry

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

    Greek in a Nutshell

  • Third Declension which have a short penult in the Genitive; as, segĕs

    New Latin Grammar

  • These Genitives accent the penult, even when it is short.

    New Latin Grammar

  • Words of more than two syllables are accented upon the penult (next to the last) if that is a long syllable, otherwise upon the antepenult (second from the last); as, amā´vī, amántis, míserum.

    New Latin Grammar

  • In such words the accent stands upon the penult, even though that be short.

    New Latin Grammar

  • In utră´que, _each_, and plēră´que, _most_, - que is not properly an enclitic; yet these words accent the penult, owing to the influence of their other cases, -- utérque, utrúmque, plērúmque.

    New Latin Grammar

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