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[kwawr-toh] /ˈkwɔr toʊ/
noun, plural quartos.
a book size of about 9½ × 12 inches (24 × 30 cm), determined by folding printed sheets twice to form four leaves or eight pages. Symbol: 4to, 4°.
a book of this size.
bound in quarto.
Origin of quarto
1580-90; short for New Latin in quartō in fourth (quartō, ablative singular of quartus fourth) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for quarto
Historical Examples
  • He was the father of 14 children, and 42 quarto volumes of books by the sale of which last he was enabled to purchase an estate.

  • The Doctor sighed, and folded the sermon, and laid the quarto Cruden on it.

    Elsie Venner Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • The plan of this city is well engraved in the quarto edition of Gai Trouins Memoirs.

  • But it is clear that the Second quarto was not a perfect version of the play.

  • The results of this voyage were drawn up by Captain Cook himself, and published in 1777 in two quarto volumes.

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
  • This was republished in two quarto volumes at Frankfort in 1625.

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
  • The holiday in the Isle of Man had resulted in two quarto note books, aggregating ninety-six pages, closely written in pencil.

    The Life of George Borrow Herbert Jenkins
  • At the Fairfax Murray sale in 1918 the quarto Lyons edition made £130.

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
  • I have seen one of his quarto MS. thus dressed by Rivière in plain decoration, but which he told me had cost £30.

    John Forster Percy Hethrington Fitzgerald
  • Both are in quarto, and are biographical as well as bibliographical.

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
British Dictionary definitions for quarto


noun (pl) -tos
a book size resulting from folding a sheet of paper, usually crown or demy, into four leaves or eight pages, each one quarter the size of the sheet Often written 4to,
(formerly) a size of cut paper 10 in. by 8 in. (25.4 cm by 20.3 cm)
Word Origin
C16: from New Latin phrase in quartō in quarter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quarto

"book from paper folded to make four pages to the sheet," late 15c., from Medieval Latin in quarto "in the fourth (part of a sheet of paper)," from quarto, ablative singular of Latin quartus "fourth" (see quart).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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