last but one



last but one (not comparable)

  1. (now chiefly Britain) Penultimate, next to last, immediately preceding the end of a sequence, list, etc.

Usage notesEdit

In addition to the Latinate penultimate, the traditional English expressions for this idea were last but one and (less often) second last. Following the 1920s, American use has favored next to last to the point that last but one now functions as a Britishism. While last but one continues to be somewhat more popular in Britain, however, next to last, second to last, etc. have been gaining in popularity.