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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Related topics: Chronology
penultimatepe‧nul‧ti‧mate /peˈnʌltəmət, pə-/ adjective [only before noun]  TMCLASTnot the last, but immediately before the last syn last but one, → ultimate the penultimate chaptersee thesaurus at lastRegisterIn everyday English, people usually say the next to last or, in British English, the last but one rather than use penultimate:the next to last chapterthe last but one chapter
Examples from the Corpus
penultimateIt was the penultimate act before war.Alan Aldridge's chestnut quickened well approaching the penultimate and was in no danger from then on.The penultimate column gives the current memory requirements, which are twice what is necessary.The kids ruled Monday night, the sixth and penultimate day of racing.We booked a moped for the penultimate day of the holiday.His horse slipped and fell at the penultimate fence.the penultimate game of the seasonIt took us five hours to reach the penultimate peak.Eric scored a timely win in the penultimate round of the Formula 1 championship.Beatification is the penultimate step before canonisation.These trials are actually the penultimate step toward choosing the Olympic team for this summer's games.This all happened just before Easter, at the end of my penultimate term at Sussex.Particularly impressive is the horn section on the penultimate track, 'Just Jivin' Around'.
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