The last day of the year will be the ultimate day. The second to the last day of the year, tomorrow, will be the penultimate day. Today, the 29th, is the antepenultimate day of 2020. You may wonder what yesterday, the fourth from the last day of the year was. December 28th was the preantepenultimate day of the year.
I don’t know the antiquated name of the fifth from the last. Use of these terms is confusing to most people anyway. The most used words of this list are penultimate and ultimate. In the world of promotion, everyone wants to be the last word in excellence. Nobody wishes to claim to be the penultimate, antepenultimate, nor preantepenultimate word in excellence.
For the dubious purposes of today’s blog post, antepenultimate is enough linguistic arcana for one day. As far as I can tell, the ultimate word of this list is preantepenultimate. That means antepenultimate is the penultimate word of the list. You can see where this is headed.
We see the end of the year looming ahead. Everything we wanted or needed to accomplish this year must be either finished by the end of the 31st, or postponed until later. In any case, the antepenultimate day of the year is a great time to wrap up any unfinished business. Doing so today, allows for breathing room just in case we overlooked something.
Hopefully, everything can be finished before the penultimate, and the ultimate days of 2020. I like to have a year’s responsibilities and obligations complete before each year ends. This provides a reasonably happy end to the year, anything less feels unsatisfying and frustrating. The beauty of finishing the year’s necessary tasks early is how it eliminates the worry associated with procrastination. That aspect, in and of itself, makes one’s emotional life simpler. This is something nearly everybody understands.
I would be remiss if the pronunciation of antepenultimate is not mentioned. Refer to such words as animal, citizen, comedy, dangerous, and obvious. The words are stressed on the antepenultimate syllable. The same is true for antepenultimate.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century poet, T.S. Eliot. “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”