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[ok-tey-voh, -tah-] /ɒkˈteɪ voʊ, -ˈtɑ-/
noun, plural octavos for 2.
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°.
a book of this size.
in octavo.
Origin of octavo
1575-85; short for New Latin in octāvō in an eighth (of a sheet) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for octavo
  • The so-called octavo format was a departure from previous manuscripts because it was handy, portable, and pocket-size.
  • The notes are so many that they turn the thin little old quarto into a fat octavo.
  • Folio books are the largest, quarto the next largest, and octavo and duodecimo follow in descending order.
British Dictionary definitions for octavo


noun (pl) -vos
Also called eightvo. a book size resulting from folding a sheet of paper of a specified size to form eight leaves: demi-octavo Often written 8vo,
a book of this size
(formerly) a size of cut paper 8 inches by 5 inches (20.3 cm by 12.7 cm)
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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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