- an Italian stanza of eight lines, each of eleven syllables (or, in the English adaptation, of ten or eleven syllables), the first six lines rhyming alternately and the last two forming a couplet with a different rhyme: used in Keats' Isabella and Byron's Don Juan.
Origin of ottava rima
1810–20; < Italian: octave rhyme
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- prosody a stanza form consisting of eight iambic pentameter lines, rhyming a b a b a b c c
Italian: eighth rhyme
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 ottava rima
1820, Italian, "eight-lined stanza," literally "eighth rhyme," from ottava "eighth" (see octave). A stanza of eight 11-syllable lines, rhymed a b a b a b c c, but in the Byronic variety, they are English heroic lines of 10 syllables.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper