pe·nult (pēnŭlt′, pĭ-nŭlt) also pe·nul·ti·ma (pĭ-nŭltə-mə)
1. The next to the last item in a series.
2. The next to the last syllable in a word.
[Short for penultima, from Latin paenultima, feminine of paenultimus, next to last : paene, almost + ultimus, last; see ULTIMATE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.