A penult (short for penultimate) is the next to the last item in a series. The most common use of the word is in linguistics, where the word "penult" usually means the second to last syllable of a word. The penult follows the antepenult and precedes the ultima. For example, the main stress falls on the penult in such English words as banána, and Mississíppi. Occasionally, "penult" refers to the last word but one of a sentence.
The terms are often used in reference to languages like Latin and Ancient Greek, where the position of the pitch accent or stress of a word only falls on one of the last three syllables and is determined by rules, and sometimes in discussing poeticmeter.