[ ok-tiv, -teyv ]
/ ˈɒk tɪv, -teɪv /
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pitched an octave higher.



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Origin of octave

1300–50; Middle English <Latin octāva eighth part, noun use of feminine of octāvus, equivalent to oct-oct- + -āvus adj. suffix
oc·ta·val [ok-tey-vuhl, ok-tuh-], /ɒkˈteɪ vəl, ˈɒk tə-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for octave

/ (ˈɒktɪv) /


  1. the interval between two musical notes one of which has twice the pitch of the other and lies eight notes away from it counting inclusively along the diatonic scale
  2. one of these two notes, esp the one of higher pitch
  3. (as modifier)an octave leap See also perfect (def. 9), diminished (def. 2), interval (def. 5)
prosody a rhythmic group of eight lines of verse
  1. a feast day and the seven days following
  2. the final day of this period
the eighth of eight basic positions in fencing
any set or series of eight


consisting of eight parts
C14: (originally: eighth day) via Old French from Medieval Latin octāva diēs eighth day (after a festival), from Latin octo eight
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

Cultural definitions for octave

[ (ok-tiv) ]

An interval between musical notes in which the higher note is six whole tones, or twelve half tones, above the lower. From the standpoint of physics, the higher note has twice the frequency of the lower. Notes that are an octave apart, or a whole number of octaves apart, sound in some ways like the same note and have the same letter for their names.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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