Definition of folio in English:


nounPlural folios

  • 1An individual leaf of paper or parchment, either loose as one of a series or forming part of a bound volume, which is numbered on the recto or front side only.

    • ‘The Khamsa is part of it, complete but for eight folios that had been torn out earlier and were bequeathed to the Met in 1913.’
    • ‘The folios will debut at Artexpo New York along with a limited-edition giclee print of ‘Moon Rider.’’
    • ‘The oldest item is a double folio of exquisite calligraphy from a 14th Century Quran of uncertain provenance - Turkish perhaps or Central Asian.’
    • ‘These reports are typed on huge folio pages with numerous data categories.’
    • ‘Eighty-seven folios of the Book of Animals (about one-tenth of the original text by al-Jahiz) are preserved in the Ambrosiana Library in Milan.’
    • ‘The five volumes consisted of an octavo of 786 pages of descriptive matter and four imperial folios containing 213 plates.’
    • ‘What made him pen this immense book (382 folio pages in the original Turkish) and how on earth did he find the time?’
    • ‘Today it has been pulled apart, the folios bound to a cardboard binder.’
    • ‘The action continues on the facing folio, another full-page miniature, this time divided into two registers.’
    • ‘Do I find in the appeal book the folio which is said to record the estate or interests of the appellant?’
    • ‘Each leaf or folio has two pages and these were normally marked out for the text and any illumination by a process of pricking and ruling using a variety of instruments.’
    • ‘‘Restored and put under glass, the folios could be gingerly handled, and it was possible to photograph all the pages,’ he said.’
    • ‘Certain illuminations from his Book of Hours condemn the duke's enemies, the most striking example being a folio accompanying the Vigils of the Dead.’
    sheet, side, leaf
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    1. 1.1 The page number in a printed book.
      • ‘In folio 145, he described, for the first time, in medical history, a haemorrhagic disease transmitted by unaffected women to their male children - today we call it haemophilia.’
      • ‘The commentary on verse 1 of Romans just cited from folio 8 of the Soane manuscript reappears with minor changes in the printed edition of 1542.’
      • ‘The specific piece of evidence is an entry given within the book, on the front of folio 327, dating from 1635.’
      • ‘The combination of second-person speech and frontal gaze of the princess on folio 3v indicates to him that the book was expressly produced for her young foreign eyes.’
      • ‘At folio 23, your Honour, the date is 26 February.’
      • ‘The earlier set of ordinances are on folios 17-19, the original custumal on ff.20-49, and the later set of ordinances on ff.74-77.’
  • 2A sheet of paper folded once to form two leaves (four pages) of a book.

    • ‘Most interesting of all are the two folios at the end that give us the layout for the ceremonies in the Abbey.’
    • ‘Once the pages were finished they were folded into the folios and placed up to eight pages in depth.’
    • ‘The presence of empty, but ruled, folios at the end of the volume suggests that FVB was a work in progress.’
    • ‘His own grammar fills 13 double-column folio pages in his two-volume dictionary.’
    piece of paper, leaf, page
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    1. 2.1 A size of book made up of folio sheets of paper.
      • ‘The paper size is imperial folio, that's almost as big as today's standard A2 page, which is equal to four standard A4 sheets.’
      • ‘And that's without me looking at the folio size books.’
      • ‘Wadum suggests that some of the five books in folio and 25 other books might have been manuals such as those cited by Swillens.’
      • ‘These were engraved in two sizes: folio, and a smaller series as book illustrations.’
    2. 2.2 A book or manuscript made up of folio sheets of paper; a volume of the largest standard size.
      • ‘He'd known that - hence the plan to skip off to Bali once the folio was completed.’
      • ‘Wesley dropped the big folio book he was carrying on to the table and went to me.’
      • ‘Up to now it is more than a hundred folios of manuscript.’
      • ‘Johnson's magnum opus was published in two folio volumes in 1755.’
      • ‘Even their presentation, in imposing folio volumes, reflects the gravity of their intent.’
      • ‘Pages printed on one or both sides, gathered into quires or folios, superceded papyrus and parchment rolls in the fourth century CE.’
      • ‘She dedicated her lavish folio volume, in large print, to her brother-in-law, Sir Charles Cavendish, in gratitude.’
      • ‘So it was that on 15 April, 1755, the two huge folio volumes went on sale for four pounds and ten shillings a set.’
      • ‘With the turning pages of his folios and albums, the 98-year-old's life pours out in torrents, just like the many rivers he has captured on film.’
      • ‘Shakespearian textual critics are primarily interested in the nature of the lost manuscripts that served as printers' copy for the early quartos and folios.’
      • ‘The entries of Shakespearian texts in the Stationers' Register chronicle the publishing fortunes of his poems, individual plays, and the four folios from the 1590s to the Restoration.’
      • ‘One theological work consists of five folio volumes in Spanish.’
      • ‘The whole document fills two massive folios in the only printed edition of the Latin text that has ever been published, in 1783.’
      • ‘I have completed it and it has filled around fifty folios.’
      • ‘For these four folio volumes of patient industry, Gould received the princely sum of $50!’
      • ‘Kalpesh Lathigra's photojournalistic folios are worth the visit.’
      • ‘The prints were published in the Cabinet du Roi, a series of folio volumes with illustrations of the artistic and scientific triumphs of the reign.’
      • ‘Only once before, in the 1616 Jonson folio, had an English dramatist's plays appeared in collected form.’
      • ‘The desktop itself was lost beneath teetering stacks of leather-bound volumes and slim folios that formed a parapet around the edges of the desk.’
      • ‘In fact, each photo is so engaging that I wished at times that the book form was replaced by a folio.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, ablative of folium ‘leaf’, in medieval Latin used in references to mean ‘on leaf so-and-so’. The original sense of in folio (from Italian in foglio) was ‘in the form of a full-sized sheet or leaf folded once’ (designating the largest size of book).