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PENULTIMATE

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PENULTIMATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Aug 23, 2006 11:34 pm

• penultimate •

Pronunciation: pên-êl-tê-mênt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Before the ultimate or last, next to the last in a row or series. The one before the next to the last is the antepenultimate.

Notes: The last in a series is the ultimate but the next to last is the penult or penultimate, today's Good Word, for example, the penultimate syllable in a word. In the Polish language, the accent falls on the penultimate syllable (next to last); in French it falls on the ultimate (last).

In Play: Although it is probably used more in discussing poetry and linguistics, today's word is a good one to use around the house: "But mama, I thought that it was just your penultimate threat to ground me if I don't clean my room!" (Please let us know if you get away with it.) Anything next to last in a series is fair game for today's word: "Marsten, your penultimate letter to me was your resignation; why did I receive yet another letter from you?"

Word History: Today's word comes from Latin pænultimus comprising pæne "almost"+ ultimus "last". The root of ultimus, the source of English ultimate and ultimatum (a last warning) is Latin ultra "beyond", as in ultraviolet rays. This word is based on the same the Proto-Indo-European root al- "beyond" as English else, which indicates what lies beyond all other alternatives. Alternative? Yep, this word itself is also a distant relative reeled in from Latin. (We certainly have no alternative to thanking Harold Vanselow for suggesting today's Good Word, which we saved for the penultimate day of the work week.)
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Postby Palewriter » Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:13 am

Oh...not just used in poetry, Dr G.

Waaaay back, deep in the mists of time, as a teacher of EFL (English as a Foreign Language), I used to feel I had to nag about the English "antepenultimate rule." How to get Scandinavian reprobates to understand why "psy-CHO-lo-gy" turns into "psy-cho-LOG-ic-al", or why "con-GEN-i-al" becomes "con-gen-i-AL-i-ty." Earth-shaking stuff, to be sure.

"Säg efter mig nu: 'tah-DAH-duh-duh'....begriper du?"

Oh bollocks. Let's read something instead. Better still, let's go for a pint.


-- PW
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!!! What a ride!"
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Postby Perry » Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:50 am

Better still, let's go for a pint.


Come down to Asheville. Sluggo and I are looking for the time and an excuse (however spurious) to go for a pint together.
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Postby Stargzer » Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:25 pm

Perry wrote:
Better still, let's go for a pint.


Come down to Asheville. Sluggo and I are looking for the time and an excuse (however spurious) to go for a pint together.


Sounds like a plan! Next time I get down to Gold Hill / Richfield to visit my brother, I'll have to go pick up the Charlotte-an and head on over. It's only a hoot and a holler away, isn't it? Or is it a right good piece?
Regards//Larry

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Postby Perry » Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:58 pm

One man's hoot is another man's holler.

If'n your a'fixin to come, I can google a map for you.
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Postby tcward » Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:21 pm

Yup. Asheville is practically a 'burb of Charlotte these days.

I'm sure my wife wouldn't mind if I head off to the bar with the fellas one of these Friday nights... :P

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