[ok-tey-voh, -tah-]
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.

1575–85; short for Neo-Latin in octāvō in an eighth (of a sheet)

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World English Dictionary
octavo (ɒkˈteɪvəʊ)
n , pl -vos
1.  Also called: eightvo, 8vo, Often written: a book size resulting from folding a sheet of paper of a specified size to form eight leaves: demi-octavo
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)
[C16: from New Latin phrase in octavo in an eighth (of a whole sheet)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1582, printer's word for sheets folded to make eight leaves, from L. in octavo "in the eighth," from octavus "eighth" (see octave). Abbreviation is 8vo.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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