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[ok-tey-voh, -tah-]
See more synonyms for octavo on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural oc·ta·vos for 2.
  1. a book size of about 6 × 9 inches (16 × 23 cm), determined by printing on sheets folded to form 8 leaves or 16 pages. Symbol: 8vo, 8°
  2. a book of this size.
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  1. in octavo.
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Origin of octavo

1575–85; short for New Latin in octāvō in an eighth (of a sheet)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for octavo

Historical Examples

  • They make an octavo volume of about three hundred and fifty pages.

    The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851


  • Of this book, published in octavo in 1893, it is impossible to speak too highly.

  • Another edition of this work was published in octavo at Basle in 1740.

  • A customer is likely to ask for Ivanhoe in English, octavo, bound in leather.

    The Classification of Patents

    United States Patent Office

  • The catalogue filled 13 octavo volumes, and the sale occupied 216 days.

    A Book for All Readers

    Ainsworth Rand Spofford

British Dictionary definitions for octavo


noun plural -vos
  1. Also called: eightvo a book size resulting from folding a sheet of paper of a specified size to form eight leavesdemi-octavo Often written: 8vo,
  2. a book of this size
  3. (formerly) a size of cut paper 8 inches by 5 inches (20.3 cm by 12.7 cm)
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Word Origin

C16: from New Latin phrase in octavo in an eighth (of a whole sheet)
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

Word Origin and History for octavo


1580s, printer's word for sheets folded to make eight leaves, from Latin in octavo "in the eighth," ablative of octavus "eighth" (see octave). Abbreviation is 8vo.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper