I have some events. a occurred the the first and d occurred the last. The order is as follows

a > b > c > d

How do I express the position of c. I'd like to count from the last. Is it correct to say?

c is the second last event

What are the alternative words?

1 Answer 1


The word you are looking for is penultimate.


penultimate: next to the last, e.g., the penultimate chapter of a book

  • @WS2 Hmmm I thought it was said second to last ?
    – walen
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 9:32
  • 2
    @walen I believe to and from both work here - at least with second. But I feel awkward saying third to last - seems to me it should be third from last, but I would welcome other input. Prepositions are an area of much Br and Am divergence.
    – WS2
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 9:44
  • @WS2 surely ante-penultimate?
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 10:33
  • 1
    @WS2 in my experience in the U.S. second to last is much more common than second from last, at least in sports. After that, counting backwards, from seems to take over: third from last or third from the last, etc. Good observation/question on your part. How would one substantiate this? I would say ante-penultimate applies to any item that comes before the penultimate item. Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 11:40
  • antepenultimate means "last but two". Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 13:17

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