Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#208810 - 01/08/13 01:04 AM antepenultimate
Jackie Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
I just love this word. Ante is of course before, and ultimate here means final, but what's the purpose/etymology of pen, please?

Top
#208811 - 01/08/13 01:08 AM Re: antepenultimate [Re: Jackie]
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
from Latin paene "almost" + ultimus "final"

then there's preantepenultimate, and... smile

Top
#208816 - 01/08/13 05:25 AM Re: antepenultimate [Re: Jackie]
scribbler101 Offline
stranger

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 8
Have some Madeira, m'Dear!
It's really an excellent year.
Now if it were gin, you'd be wrong to say yes,
The evil gin does would be hard to assess
(Besides it's inclined to affect my prowess)
Have some Madeira, m'Dear!"

Then there flashed though her mind what her mother had said
With her antepenultimate breath:
"Oh my child, should you look at the wine which is red
Be prepared for a fate worse than death!"

Top
#208818 - 01/08/13 10:36 AM Re: antepenultimate [Re: maverick]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
Originally Posted By: maverick

then there's preantepenultimate, and... smile


you can actually find this used quite a bit in discussions of stress and syllabication/syllabification.

but here's my question: preantepenultimate is often defined as 'fourth from last'; why isn't it third from the last?

ultimate: last
penultimate: next to the last
antepenultimate: second? from the last
pre~: third? from the last

unless, of course you're counting from the 'edge', as in a photo:
on the left is.. second from the left.. third from the left

Top
#208819 - 01/08/13 10:54 AM Re: antepenultimate [Re: maverick]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3286
Loc: R'lyeh
from Latin paene "almost"

Whence our peninsula (lit. 'almost an island').
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

Top
#208841 - 01/08/13 07:41 PM Re: antepenultimate [Re: zmjezhd]
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
> island

faskinating, thanks for that nunc - I had never made that connection (a bridge too far?)

Top
#208842 - 01/08/13 08:10 PM Re: antepenultimate [Re: tsuwm]
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
> you can actually find this used quite a bit in discussions of stress and syllabication/syllabification.

scene - interior, consultant's room, view of LA thro' window
Consultant: So, tell me, what triggers this overwhelming stress?
Patient: It’s the syllables, doctor – every time I see antepenultimate I get in a tizzy because I don’t know if they mean fourth from last or third from last!

but here's my question: preantepenultimate is often defined as 'fourth from last'; why isn't it third from the last?

tsory, didn't mean to ignore your question. We might some of us remember this cropping up from Anu a while ago.

It seems to me rather a confusion about what the label means – in other words, “third to last” may sound like it should be three behind the last, but the expression has grown up evidently meaning otherwise: ‘second to last’ commonly is clear as ‘the horse that came in ahead of only one other’ – it was (in this topsy-turvy inverted frame of reference) placed second, surpassed by only one in the race to the bottom.
Hm, that’s prolly as clear as mud but.

Top
#208844 - 01/08/13 08:15 PM Re: antepenultimate [Re: scribbler101]
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
Originally Posted By: scribbler101
Have some Madeira, m'Dear!
It's really an excellent year.
Now if it were gin, you'd be wrong to say yes,
The evil gin does would be hard to assess
(Besides it's inclined to affect my prowess)
Have some Madeira, m'Dear!"


smile Thanks for reminding me of Flanders & Swann - underrated, and surely overdue for revival in perhaps a biographically based show...

Top
#208845 - 01/08/13 08:22 PM Re: antepenultimate [Re: maverick]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
you want not clear as mud? OED has this for preantepenultimate:

That precedes or stands immediately before the antepenult; the last but three.

Top
#208846 - 01/08/13 08:44 PM Re: antepenultimate [Re: tsuwm]
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
I think the confusion creeps in when you tried to specify
> antepenultimate: second? from the last [e.a.]

The common phrase I think is based on an elision:
Penultimate is ‘second [compared] to last’ whilst antepenultimate is ‘third to last’, leaving preantepenultimate in ‘fourth to last’ position (or the ‘last excepting three’ as per OED).

Top
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 >


Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8686 Members
16 Forums
13783 Topics
213017 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
csmoore, Jane Luckner, anjela, MR LOGOPHILE, PlayRiter
8686 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 39 Guests and 1 Spider online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
wofahulicodoc 79
LukeJavan8 60
endymion6 55
jenny jenny 49
Tromboniator 10
Faldage 5
csmoore 1
Mercur10 1
JTaz 1
Jane Luckner 1
April
Su M Tu W Th F Sa
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith